Judge Rejects Cuccinelli’s Subpoena Of UVA ‘Climate-Gate’ Docs

VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
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A judge in Virginia has set aside Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s subpoena of University of Virgina documents relating to research by Michael Mann, a former professor who was involved in the “Climate-Gate” controversy last year.

Cuccinelli, a climate change skeptic, said he was investigating whether Mann had committed fraud when obtaining government funds for research into human-caused climate change, but Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. ruled that “it is not clear what [Mann] did was misleading, false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Peatross determined that Cuccinelli could still investigate the fraud, but since his subpoena did not state a “reason to believe” fraud had been committed, he could not have access to the documents.

According to The Washington Post:

Peatross set the subpoena aside without prejudice, meaning Cuccinelli could give the subpoena another try by rewriting the civil demand to better explain the conduct he wishes to investigate.

The judge also determined that Cuccinelli can only investigate one of the five grants awarded to Mann, since only one had been awarded by the state of Virginia. The others were federal grants.

Mann, who now works at Penn State University, left UVA in 2005. As TPM previously reported, Mann was one of several climate change researchers who were connected to the “Climate-Gate” emails that “showed some scientists discussing ways to keep views skeptical of global warming out of peer-reviewed journals, among other things.”

Three major UK investigations have since exonerated the “Climate-Gate” scientists of any wrongdoing. Mann himself was additionally let off the hook after an investigation by his employer, Penn State.

Cuccinelli’s probe had been denounced by climate change believers and skeptics alike as a “witch hunt” and a threat to academic freedom.

Mann himself said in a statement that the Judge’s ruling is “a victory not just for me and the university, but for all scientists who live in fear that they may be subject to a politically-motivated witch hunt when their research findings prove inconvenient to powerful vested interests.”

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