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Groups file brief supporting U.Va. in case against Cuccinelli

Anita Kumar

Four groups have filed an amicus brief asking a judge to set aside a demand from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for documents related to the research of a global warming expert once employed by the University of Virginia. Read the brief.

The brief was filed Tuesday in Albemarle County Circuit Court by the ACLU of Virginia, American Association of University Professors, Union of Concerned Scientists and Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

"If the court permits the attorney general to gain access to the private communications among scientists whenever he disagrees with their ideas, the scientists will simply stop sharing their ideas," said Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. "The chilling effect on academic freedom and scientific inquiry is incalculable."

Cuccinelli issued a civil investigative demand in April, demanding research documents and e-mails related to the work of climate scientist Michael Mann, who was employed at the university until 2005. Mann's work concludes that the earth has experienced a rapid, recent warming -- a conclusion Cuccinelli rejects.

Cuccinelli has said the results of Mann's research aren't at question but that he is investigating whether Mann defrauded Virginia taxpayers as he sought five public grants while employed at the university.

The university, ordinarily a client of the attorney general, has hired outside counsel to fight Cuccinelli's demand. They've asked an Albemarle County Circuit Court judge to set it aside, arguing that complying would compromise free inquiry at the university. Cuccinelli has asserted that academic freedom provides no shield to an investigation of possible fraud.

Arguments on U.Va's petition to set aside Cuccinelli's demands are scheduled to take place Friday afternoon in Charlottesville.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 17, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Ken Cuccinelli  
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If Ken's recent posts on his Facebook page are any indication of his grammar or spelling skills, then U. VA should have no problems getting their way. For example:

"hahahaha, good stuff, the nyt and wapo are certainly as 'unbiased' as cspan..."

He's an embarrassment to the state in so many ways.

Posted by: veggiac | August 18, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Time to recall the Koo-Koo-Neli bird. We need an AG who will FIGHT CRIME in Va not a right-wing-nut trying to impose Taliban-like views on Americans!!

Posted by: 10bestfan | August 18, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

During the so-called "Climategate" email scandal, which began on November 20, 2009, the Russian propaganda claimed that global warming was a "hoax" being perpetrated by Western scientists. The Russian propaganda said the same thing as British and American global warming denialists, who tend to be conservative, right-wing Republicans.

Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli continues to spread this propaganda, even though the official Russian media is no longer claiming that global warming is a scientific hoax. The Russian media and President Medvedev now say that global warming is happening, although one paranoid Russian scholar has claimed that secret U.S. "climate weapons" are causing global warming!

Instead of persecuting Dr. Mann, I think Mr. Cuccinelli should investigate his political sugar daddy "John Doe," AKA "Bobby Thompson."

Attorney General should tell Virginians why "John Doe" AKA "Bobby Thompson" gave him 55,000 dollars.

For all we know, Cuccinelli may have been given money by "John Doe" to attack scientists who study global warming. People usually want something when they give politicians $55,000.

For all we know, the charity may have even laundered money from fossil fuel businesses for political donations to politicians. For example, the Jacksonville, Florida-based Russian energy company ITERA was investigated by the FBI for an improper relationship with the former Congressman Curt Weldon.

I will never vote for any Republican politician as long as the Republicans collaborate with fossil fuel interests---foreign or domestic---who are funding climate denialism disguised as "science."

Cuccinelli persecutes a great scientist who can help us fight global warming and gets money from a criminal instead of protecting Virginians from global warming and thieves like "Bobby Thompson."

Cuccinelli is not a leader; he is a demagogue who is orchestrating scandals and spreading conspiracy theories instead of solving real problems and prosecuting real criminals.

Cuccinelli better hope that Bobby Thompson is just an ordinary crook who pays-off politicians and not an operative for some fossil fuel corporation or Petrostate. Western fossil fuel companies are funding so-called "scientific" organizations that deny that global warming is a problem. I doubt that the operatives of the Russian Petrostate and its fossil fuel oligarchs are just sitting on their hands. The FBI has already been investigating ITERA for its relationship with the former politician Curt Weldon.

Posted by: crascal | August 20, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Attorney General should tell Virginians why "John Doe" AKA "Bobby Thompson" gave him 55,000 dollars.

Attorney General Cuccinelli should be trying to find out who is picking up the mail from "Suite 275" in Washington D.C. because the so-called "national headquarters" of "Bobby Thompson's" crooked charity, the U.S. Navy Veterans' Association, is nothing but a P.O. box numbered 275 at a UPS store in Washington D.C.

Posted by: crascal | August 20, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Cuccinelli, but I deeply regret this now that he has shown his true colors. I have decided to vote for Democrats as long as Republicans continue to deny what virtually all scientist are telling us---that global warming is a problem.

The British authorities are still investigating who stole those scientists' emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia right before the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

The criminals reportedly posted these emails on the server of a Russian Internet security company in Tomsk, Russia.

Tomsk is known for its "patriotic hackers" who attack the Kremlin's opponents.

The emails were mischaracterized and taken out of context by Western global warming denialists and the so-called "scientific" organizations that are funded by fossil fuel interests.

The Climategate scandal was extensively covered by the official Russian media in Russian and English.

The tabloid Pravda was citing FOX News.

The Kremlin-financed Russia Today English-language satellite TV interviewed the global warming denialist Lord Monckton. This person constantly mischaracterizes what scientists actually say.

Sergei Kirpotin, a Russian scientist who studies global warming, denounced this hacking as a provocation against the Copenhangen Summit. Kirpotin's assessment of Climategate and of global warming was not given any time on the Kremlin-financed media.

The hacked CRU works closely with the British MET (meteorological service) which is part of Britain's Defense Ministry.

Hacking into the CRU may be a bit like hacking onto a Pentagon contractor. The British are going to try to identify the criminal/s.

The British may reveal who hacked these emails. How will Cuccinelli look if it turns out some Russian entity had a hand in this hacking? Russian political operatives often use what they call "kompromat" to humiliate and discredit their opponents.

The Financial Times (4-15-10) reported:

"There have been indications that the hackers could have been based in Russia, and some experts believe they may have been hired by sceptics based in the US."

Even if the hackers were not Russian entities, they were criminals. Cuccinelli is using his power to attempt to do the same thing as the hackers. He hopes to get the emails of Dr. Mann and tease some sort of "fraud" out of them.

He will no doubt misinterprete and mischaracterize the emails just as he has misinterpreted and mischaracterized the stolen CRU emails.

Dr. Mann's research has been peer-reviewed by many scientists and by special academic committees. Scientists should make these judgements, not government.

Cuccinelli runs on a platform of less government, but really he wants to intrude government into an area that should be decided by scholars, not some jury.

I care what scientists think about global warming. I don't care what Cuccinelli, a person who took 55,000 dollars from a criminal, thinks.

Posted by: crascal | August 20, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

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