It's 1-1 for Cuccinelli
It's 1-1 so far for Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia's flamboyant attorney general.
On Aug. 2, the hard-right official got a boost from a federal judge in Richmond who allowed his case against the new federal health-care law to proceed. But today Cuccinelli was sent back to the drawing board in his publicity-grabbing campaign against Michael Mann, a former University of Virginia global-warming specialist whom Cuccinelli wants to sue for fraud.
Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. ruled that Cuccinelli hasn't shown that the school has documents relevant to his fraud probe. Nor has the attorney general sufficiently "stated the nature of the conduct" that he believes to be fraudulent.
Cuccinelli had issued five civil investigative demands (CIDs) for e-mails of Mann and about 40 scientists. His move touched off criticism that Cuccinelli was trampling on academic freedom for political purposes. One group of critics, the Union of Concerned Scientists, has noted that one CID has nothing to do with Mann. Much of the fraud alleged by Cuccinelli stems from a series of e-mails at a British university that collects documents on global warming for the United Nations.
Back in Virginia, Judge Peatross said that Cuccinelli can issue CIDs against the University of Virginia. This apparently allows Cuccinelli to fix and refile his CIDs if he chooses.
But one wonders how long these witch hunts, paid for with taxpayers' money, will go on.
| August 30, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
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