The university is fighting Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's demand for records related to a former professor's climate change research.
Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, is investigating whether Michael Mann defrauded taxpayers by using manipulated data to obtain state grants backing his global-warming research. The university is fighting Cuccinelli's "civil investigative demand" for documents related to Mann's work.
"The CIDs are aimed squarely at Dr. Mann's scientific conclusions," the university said in court papers Tuesday. The university added that more than one-third of the attorney general's brief in the case "is devoted to challenging and criticizing the research and conclusions of Dr. Mann and his co-authors."
In his brief last week, Cuccinelli argued that academic freedom is not a legal barrier to a fraud investigation. He said the university has information relevant to his investigation and has not demonstrated a constitutional or legal basis for withholding it.
A hearing on Cuccinelli's demand for the records is set for Aug. 20.