2011-09-08 02:42:42"Hockey Stick" Creator Michael Mann Seeks Court's Help to Ensure No Inquiry, No "Exoneration" -- American Tradition Institute
John Hartz
John Hartz

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Contact: Paul Chesser, Executive Director, paul.chesser@atinstitute.org

ALEXANDRIA — A former University of Virginia professor at the center of the "Climategate" controversy is making a last-minute effort to block a conservative group's open records request into his email account.

 The American Tradition Institute, a self-described conservative group, won a court order in May to review climate change proponent Dr. Michael Mann's emails dating back to his days as a University of Virginia, or UVA, professor. Mann, the climatologist behind the "hockey stick graph," stayed away from the case before filing a motion Friday to block the release of thousands of documents on privacy grounds.

The institute dismissed the motion as ineffective.

"Mr. Mann has no standing in this case. He doesn’t own the documents per university policy, which he knew when he was there," said Dave Schnare, director of the group's Environmental Law Center. "He doesn’t have a right in this game."

Neither Mann, nor his Manassas-based attorney, Scott Newton, returned calls for comment.

The university is unable to comment on details of ongoing legal matters, but a spokeswoman said UVA plans on moving forward under the May court ruling.

"The university has consistently stated that it will produce all responsive, non-exempt records that are public documents," spokeswoman Carol Wood said. "The university has also consistently said that it will carefully review Mr. Mann's email in order to protect what is legally exempt through FOIA."

The emails in question come from Mann, who taught at the university from 1999 to 2005. He is the climatologist behind the hockey stick graph, which claims to show surface temperatures sharply rising in the Northern Hemisphere during the 20th century. The graph became the defining image of the global warming movement and the benchmark for former Vice President Al Gore’s movie, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Mann would later become embroiled in the “Climategate” controversy. In November 2009, suspected hackers obtained emails from Mann and other climate scientists in which they allegedly discuss tampering with the peer review process to block skeptical research from being published.

Mann's legal maneuver comes in the wake of several investigation victories. On Aug. 24, the Arlington-based National Scientist Foundation cleared Mann and other climate researchers of allegations of data manipulation and destruction in connection to the hockey stick graph and other climate research. 

ATI Executive Director Paul Chesser said the professor should undergo public, as well as professional, scrutiny.

"Taxpayers have a right and an interest to see that all the research was transparent and done properly," he said.  "A lot of questions have been raised surrounding his research despite his claims that he's been exonerated."

Mann's attorneys requested a Sept. 16 hearing — just five days before the university and the group are set to settle how many of the university's 8,000 files can be released to the public.

2011-09-08 04:51:56
Rob Honeycutt


If I'm not mistaken, judges really dislike when lawyers play these kind of "press release" games, so I'm not sure ATI is helping their position with the court by releasing this. 

If Cuccinelli couldn't get a court case through I'm not sure why ATI thinks they're going to be successful.  My sense is they're just trying to keep some kind of court action in the media to try to infer that Mann has something to hide.  

2011-09-08 05:20:32
Julian Brimelow

Good God, but they never, never give up do they!?  Noboody is so clean that they can come out of this ridiculous level of scrutiny looking good.  I know, that is their objective...but wow, just wow. Ideaology and vendetta hard at work.

Yes, Rob, ATI are playing games-- this is a serious attempt to bias people against Mann and/or to try and stack the deck against him.  But they have to keep feeding the frenzy...all they have to do is dog-whistle "Mann is still being investigated, so he must have done something wrong"  and the rabid fans go on a feeding frenzy.  I feel incredibly badly for Mann and his family, they have been going though hell for years now.