Yesterday, the deputy attorney general for civil litigation in Virginia argued before the Virginia Supreme Court on the importance of getting internal documents from climate scientist Michael Mann in a taxpayer fraud investigation.
The Virginia AG Kenneth Cuccinelli wants the documents from Mann, who formerly worked at the University of Virginia. Cuccinelli is attempting to determine if Mann was involved in defrauding Virginia taxpayers in his requests for grants to fund his questionable research.
Mann, of course, is the creator of the phony “hockey stick” graph that inaccurately shows a steep climb in world temperatures. He removed the medieval warming period from his graph and doctored other data. Mann is a key figure in the Climategate scandal that erupted in November, 2009 when thousands of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Britain. A second batch was released in November, 2011.
The University of Virginia and Mann have resisted complying with Cuccinelli’s request, which is why the case is now at the Virginia Supreme Court. University officials and Mann claim that the AG’s investigation is an assault on academic freedom and would have a chilling effect on professors’ research in the future. Cuccinelli counters that academic freedom isn’t a shield from an investigation of taxpayer fraud.
The high court in Virginia is expected to rule in March. In a related case, the American Tradition Institute is trying to obtain records releated to Mann from the university through an open-records request. The group is going to depose university officials and Mann in mid-February.
Mann maintains that Cuccinelli and groups like American Tradition are simply engaging in an “ongoing smear campaign” to discredit climate science. Mann continued: “As the evidence gets stronger, the industry special interests who find the science inconvenient and those who do their bidding have chosen to simply pour more resources into a massive disinformation campaign intended to fool the public and policymakers,”
If Mann has nothing to hide, why resist the AG’s investigation?
Purchase Brian Sussman’s excellent book: Climategate.