UPDATED: U-Va. once again asks judge to set aside Cuccinelli subpoena
The University of Virginia has asked a judge to stay a subpoena by state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seeking documents related to a former climate science professor while the Virginia Supreme Court weighs in on Cuccinelli's efforts.
The school already had signaled it planned to fight Cuccinelli's latest efforts to get e-mails and files about global warming researcher Michael Mann, who worked at the school from 1999 to 2005.
The university successfully fended off an initial attempt by Cuccinelli to get the documents when an Albermarle Circuit Court judge ruled that Cuccinelli's civil investigative demand had failed to state why he needed the documents. Cuccinelli has said he wants to see whether an investigation into whether Mann committed fraud as he sought state money for research is warranted.
Cuccinelli has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court and meanwhile rewritten a new civil investigative demand. In court filings submitted late Wednesday, U-Va. submitted a new petition asking the judge to set aside Cuccinelli's latest civil investigative demand.
The university's lawyers also said the judge should stay Cuccinelli's latest demand while courts consider his appeal. They say doing so would save time and money. If granted, the issue would be unlikely to be resolved until after Jan. 1, a university spokesman said.
The university writes in its latest filings that Cuccinelli is targeting Mann because he disagrees with his findings--that the earth has experienced recent, rapid warming.The school says his effort represents "an unprecedented and improper governmental intrusion into ongoing scientific research" that would violate academic freedom.
The university's new court action earned them praise from the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Scientists are proud of UVA for standing up to this relentless rubbish," said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program, in a statement.
Mann, now a professor at Pennsylvania State University, also thanked the school. "I'm pleased that University of Virginia has chosen to continue to stand up to Mr. Cuccinelli and his misguided witch hunt," he said.
We've reached out to Cuccinelli's office for response and we'll let you know if they respond.
UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said the attorney generla's lawyers will oppose the stay. "The attorney general's office wrote the new CID to be consistent with the judge's ruling in August. We see no reason why the CID should not be complied with, because the judge stated that there is no First Amendment bar (ie. academic freedom) that prevents the attorney general from looking into Dr. Mann's work documents at UVa," Gottstein said in a statement.
"The emails and documents requested are all property belonging to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The CID seeks none of Mann's private documents," he added.
| October 21, 2010; 1:27 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman
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