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Judge Blocks Va. Attorney General's Request For Climate Change Documents

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By Elliott Francis

A Virginia circuit court judge has blocked a request by State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for research documents written by a leading climate scientist.

The attorney general alleged Dr. Michael Mann manipulated data to obtain grants for his research on climate change at the University of Virginia. Cuccinelli's office subpoenaed the documents, but Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. disagreed, indicating the attorney general failed to back up the charges.

Michael Halpern is manager of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says there's another reason for the attorney general's actions. "We think Ken Cuccinelli is targeting Dr. Mann basically because he disagrees with the scientists conclusions,and we feel that these sorts of attacks are pretty dangerous."

In his ruling, Judge Peatross said the attorney general can make another request for the documents so long as the demand meets legal requirements.

Brian Gottstein, spokesperson for the attorney general, says, "He's laid a framework where we can go back and issue a new investigative demands to get the documents the attorney general needs."

The attorney general is considering additional evidence to determine further action.

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