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Court Deals Blow To New York AG’s Anti-Free Speech Campaign

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New York’s highest court dealt a blow to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for blocking access to public records that could reveal a coordinated campaign against global warming dissenters.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Henry Zwack ordered Schneiderman to hand over common interest agreements the conservative nonprofit Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) requested in May, thus rejecting Schneiderman’s claim the records are exempt from disclosure under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

The decision was delivered Nov. 22, but CEI’s statement on it was delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday.

“CEI’s court victory is a blow to the anti-free speech campaign led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement Monday. “While the campaign by him and his cohorts that began in March continues against those who disagree with him on global warming, we are glad to see that it is being held subject to the basic laws of the land.

“By requiring Schneiderman to fully comply with our freedom of information request, the court is ensuring that agencies cannot use shortcuts as a means of skirting New York’s Freedom of Information law.”

CEI requested the documents — which could show whether Schneiderman worked with other states or environmental activists to subpoena global warming dissenters — after the Virgin Islands AG in April hit CEI with a subpoena for 10 years of emails and donor records.

Schneiderman in March lobbed a subpoena against ExxonMobil for the company’s reports and communications about climate change. (RELATED: Dem AGs Using Secret Pact To Keep Global Warming Investigation Docs From Going Public)

The court gave Schneiderman 30 days to comply with CEI’s original request, and ordered the AG to cover CEI’s legal costs. (RELATED: NY AG That Attacked Exxon Sued For Concealing Investigation)

The court highlighted the AG’s contradicting claims, as the AG first said it had records responsive to CEI’s request, then claimed it had only one “potentially” relevant document.

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