Lawyers representing conservative political commentator Mark Steyn have asked the D.C. Superior Court to expedite his case against climate scientist Michael Mann, mentioning a key witness died waiting for the trial to go to court.
“Something needed to be done to jumpstart this case, a case that threatens the most fundamental First Amendment freedoms,” Dan Kornstein, Steyn’s lawyer, said in a statement.
Steyn has been locked in a legal battle against Mann since 2012, and it’s been four years since the case was brought and “the appeals from defendants’ special motions to dismiss have not been decided, nor has discovery proceeded,” Kornstein said.
“The passage of time since the appeal was argued in this case a year and a half ago while a stay of proceedings was in effect at the trial level has stalled a case whose very existence chills freedom of speech,” he said.
Mann, an outspoken climate scientist known for his alarmist views on global warming, sued Steyn for defamation over a blog post written in National Review critical of his climate research methods.
In the blog, Steyn wrote “Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick’ graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus.”
Steyn’s blog post came out amid news Pennsylvania State University had been brushing child sex allegations of Football coach Jerry Sandusky under the rug. Penn State also employs Mann, who was investigated for his involvement in the so-called Climategate scandal.
Steyn believes the school’s investigation into Mann was nothing more than formality.
Steyn added that, “whether or not he’s ‘the Jerry Sandusky of climate change’, he remains the Michael Mann of climate change, in part because his ‘investigation’ by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke.”
Mann sued, and basically argued he had the right to silence Steyn because he was “right” on the silence. Civil rights and media groups rejected Mann’s argument, and filed briefs in support of Steyn.
“Against that backdrop, the challenged statements – that Mann manipulated data to serve a political agenda and that governmental bodies improperly endorsed his views – are, as numerous other courts have recognized, protected opinions about both scientific research and public policy based on it,” reads a brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of media outlets and associations.
“While Mann essentially claims that he can silence critics because he is ‘right,’ the judicial system should not be the arbiter of either scientific truth or correct public policy,” they wrote.
Now, Steyn seems to be more upset with the D.C. Superior Court than Mann since the court has prevented the case from moving forward for the last two years. And in that time, one of Steyn’s key witnesses died.
“Steyn’s expert witnesses are older than Mann’s; time affects them more,” Steyn’s lawyers wrote in their filing. “Many of Steyn’s expert witnesses are emeritus professors and comparatively advanced in years, being of an age and eminence that enables them to stand against the bullying and intimidation that prevails in climate science.
“Indeed, one of Steyn’s proposed witnesses has, in fact, died while this interlocutory appeal has been with the appellate court.”
Steyn had time to write a new book, “A Disgrace to the Profession,” that compiles statements from scientists on how Mann’s “hockey stick” graph damaged climate science.
“He basically puts a guy like me in court for half a decade to tell other people you don’t question the climate orthodoxy,” Steyn told The Daily Caller News Foundation in December.
“What’s important is to tell all the other thousands of people, you cross us and this is what happens to you,” Steyn says of Mann’s lawsuit. “I wrote a book about it and it’s actually outsold Michael Mann’s lousy book.”
Mann has become the go-to climate expert for reporters looking to debunk claims made by global warming skeptics. Mann even joined Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe on the campaign trail to trash his election opponent, then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
“Michael Mann is essentially a celebrity figure,” Steyn says. “I noticed the Associated Press when they wanted to fact-check presidential candidates claims they went to Michael Mann.”
“Michael Mann is trapped on a melting ice flow of his own making,” Steyn says, referring to the “Climategate” scandal from 2009. “In the end, all the fellows at East Anglia regretted getting mixed up with him. Serious people made the mistake of getting mixed up with it.”
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