A federal judge ordered a former Vermont attorney general to testify about his use of private emails in an investigation targeting oil producers after the Democratic official refused to appear in court for a deposition hearing addressing the probe.
Judge Mary Teachout, who serves on the Vermont Superior Court, issued an order Wednesday denying former Democratic Attorney General William Sorrell’s request to dismiss a court-ordered deposition. Sorrell failed to appear in court for testimony about the existence of private emails he reportedly used during the Exxon probe.
“Today’s ‘dodge and weave’ behavior by William Sorrell … strongly suggests there is indeed much more embarrassing and quite possibly illegal contained (sic) in the records we seek,” E&E Legal President Craig Richardson said in a press statement. His group has been involved in a nearly year-long quest to obtain emails about the Exxon case that Sorrell has allegedly tried to keep private.
Sorrell has attempted several legal maneuvers to avoid appearing in court to explain his role in the Exxon probe. He has tried similar tactics to avoid disclosing emails E&E Legal believes exist tying Sorrell with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, who originally orchestrated the probe last November.
E&E Legal obtained documents earlier this year that indicate Schneiderman used private emails during his Exxon investigation. The group explained in court documents in June that the crusading lawman submitted a privilege log of correspondence containing the email account. A judge recognized the account was used after a private review of the log.
The group pursuit began in full after Schneiderman invited two prominent environmental activists to give presentations last March to a group of state prosecutors about “climate change litigation” and the “imperative of taking action now on climate change.”
Activists gave the presentations on the same day Schneiderman began condemning Exxon for “fraud” and “deceiving the American people.” The New York Democrat would eventually go on to investigate if Exxon had worked for decades to hide knowledge about the impact of climate change on the company’s financial health.
Vermont’s attorney general office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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