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Virginia Politics
Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 09/09/2011

Judge delays decision on Cuccinelli’s demand for records from U-Va.

A judge has delayed making a decision on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s most recent request to Virginia’s flagship university for documents related to global warming.

Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins granted a stay Friday until after the Virginia Supreme Court rules on a related case.

Last year, Cuccinelli (R), a vocal skeptic of global warming, issued a civil investigative demand, essentially a subpoena, for documents from the University of Virginia. He is seeking five grant applications prepared by former professor Michael Mann and all e-mails between Mann and his research assistants, secretaries and 39 other scientists from across the country.

But a judge dismissed the subpoena. Cuccinelli re-filed a new, more specific demand pertaining to just one $214,700 state grant, but also appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has not set a hearing date.

In an unusual step, U-Va. hired its own attorney and is fighting back, arguing that the demand exceeds Cuccinelli's authority under state law and intrudes on the rights of professors to pursue academic inquiry free from political pressure.

Cuccinelli issued a civil investigative demand under a 2002 state statute designed to catch government employees defrauding the public of tax dollars.

Mann’s work has long been under attack by global warming skeptics, particularly after references to a statistical “trick” Mann used in his research surfaced in a series of leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Mann and others have said the e-mail was taken out of context. Some of his methodologies have been criticized by other scientists, but several inquires have concluded that there was no evidence that Mann engaged in efforts to falsify or suppress data. Mann worked at U-Va. from 1999 to 2005 and now works at Penn State.

By  |  02:40 PM ET, 09/09/2011

 
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