Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. ruled (PDF) that Cuccinelli can investigate whether fraud has occured in university grants, as the attorney general had contended, but ruled that Cuccinelli's subpoena failed to state a "reason to believe" that Mann had committed fraud.
The ruling is a major blow for Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic who had maintained he was investigating whether Mann committed fraud in seeking government money for research that showed the earth has experienced a rapid, recent warming. Mann, now at Penn State University, worked at U-Va. until 2005.Under the McDonnell-Bolling-Cuccinelli administration, Virginia has threatened to become a new national leader in the war on science. Judge Peatross' ruling is a major step towards steering Virginia back to the path of facts & reason ahead of corporatist ideology.
According to Peatross, the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, under which the civil investigative demand was issued, requires that the attorney general include an "objective basis" to believe fraud has been committed. Peatross indicates that the attorney general must state the reason so that it can be reviewed by a court, which Cuccinelli's failed to do.