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Top Virginia Court Rebuffs Effort to Investigate Climate Scientist Michael Mann

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II.

State of Virginia

The Virginia Supreme Court has tossed out an effort by the state's attorney general, Kenneth Cuccinelli II, to compel the University of Virginia to turn over detailed records related to the work of climate scientist Michael Mann. The decision, issued today, upholds a lower court ruling that found Cuccinelli, an avowed conservative climate skeptic and now candidate for governor of Virginia, had overstepped his authority.

Cuccinelli had originally sought information on five grant applications and assorted e-mails from Mann, who now works at Pennsylvania State University. He later pared his request to one grant after a lower court rejected his approach.

Mann told The New York Times today that he was pleased by the ruling. "It's sad, though, that so much money and resources had to be wasted on Cuccinelli's witch hunt," he wrote in e-mail.

In a statement, Cuccinelli said: "From the beginning, we have said that we were simply trying to review documents that are unquestionably state property to determine whether or not fraud had been committed."