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Judge Rules Against Cuccinelli’s Witch Hunt Of Michael Mann

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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Virginia Attorney General and global warming denier Ken Cuccinelli has been rebuffed by a state Circuit Court judge who ruled today that Cuccinelli’s politically-charged subpoena against the University of Virginia and climate scientist Michael Mann lacked an “objective basis.”

Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. ruled that Cuccinelli’s subpoena failed to include a “reason to believe” that Mann violated Virginia fraud statutes by receiving research grants from the state to study climate change.  Cuccinelli is seeking years’ worth of documents related to Mann’s work at UVA, but his political attacks on climate science and efforts to waste Virginia taxpayers’ money will have to return to the drawing board. 

In his six-page ruling Judge Peatross wrote:

“What the Attorney General suspects that Dr. Mann did that was false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth is simply not stated.”

Dr. Mann, who now works at Penn State University, said in a statement: “It 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.”

But the victory is likely to be short-lived.  Any hopes that Cuccinelli would finally end his political circus act and focus on fighting real crime in Virginia were dashed when he immediately announced intentions to re-file the civil investigative demand.   

Extensive independent reviews of Mann’s work have all concluded the climate scientist has been nothing but honest and transparent.  Mann’s only ‘crime’ in Cuccinelli’s eyes is that he is a leading scientist conducting research that confirms humans have dangerously altered the climate.   

For that he must be smeared at taxpayers’ expense, according to Cuccinelli, whose crusade against science and reason is sure to continue. 

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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