Cuccinelli

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Legal Newsline) - A hearing has been set for next week on a demand by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for documents relating to climate research by a former University of Virginia professor.

The attorney general, citing Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, is investigating whether professor Michael Mann used fraudulent data to obtain government grants.

Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. of Albemarle County Circuit Court had set aside the attorney general's original civil investigative demand issued in August 2010.

However, Cuccinelli submitted a narrower demand, seeking information on one $214,700 grant issued by the university to Mann and two other researchers.

The university had asked a court to set aside the latest demand, which targeted "the same professor on the same grounds that the court already found insufficient," it argued.

According to The Associated Press, a hearing on Cuccinelli's scaled-down demand is set for Sept. 16 in Albemarle County Circuit Court.

The Virginia Supreme Court also has agreed to review the case.

Mann, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the university from 1999 to 2005, is known for his research on global warming. He now teaches at Pennsylvania State University.

It was Mann who produced the widely publicized "hockey stick" graph showing a sharp increase in global average temperatures in the industrial age.

His work was called into question in the investigations into the so-called Climategate scandal following the unauthorized release of hundreds of emails from a British climate center.

However, several investigations, including an extensive review of his research by Penn State, have cleared him of academic misconduct.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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