The Spanish inquisition continues but the University of Virginia Continues to Stand Up to Ken Cuccinelli’s Politically Motivated Attack on Climate Scientist

WASHINGTON (October 21, 2010) – Yesterday, the University of Virginia made two court filings in its fight against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s politically motivated investigation of climate scientist Michael Mann.

In its most strongly-worded court filing to date (pdf), UVA characterized Cuccinelli’s investigation as “an unprecedented and improper governmental intrusion into ongoing scientific research” and said that Cuccinelli is targeting Mann because he “disagrees with his academic research regarding climate change.”

UVA also argued that Cuccinelli’s latest demand for documents related to Mann’s research, filed in September, repeated the same exact arguments a county court judge rejected in August and added no new justifications for his investigation. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) examined Cuccinelli’s original argumentsand found they recycled discredited attacks on Mann and his colleagues.

“Scientists are proud of UVA for standing up to this relentless rubbish,” said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS’s Scientific Integrity Program. “This investigation has never been about fraud or the facts. Cuccinelli is abusing his power to fight a public relations war against scientific findings.”

In a separate filing (pdf), UVA also asked the county court to put the case on hold while the Virginia Supreme Court resolves an appeal Cuccinelli filed seeking to overturn a previous August ruling rejecting his investigation. The university argued that putting the case on hold would save the court system time and resources because the cases involve the same parties and the same arguments. UVA already has spent $350,000 fighting Cuccinelli’s investigation.

“UVA realizes more than anyone – save perhaps Michael Mann – what a waste of time and resources this investigation has become,” Grifo said. “It’s ironic that Ken Cuccinelli, who so vociferously opposes increased government spending, can waste taxpayer money with an entirely gratuitous investigation.”

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