A coalition of state lawmen led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a friend-of-the court brief defending ExxonMobil’s free speech rights as the company faces climate lawsuits.
Twelve AGs signed the brief as well, which was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Aug. 10 and supports Exxon’s appeal of a court dismissal of a lawsuit against the Massachusetts and New York AGs.
“This case is about the right of citizens to have a viewpoint on a topic of public debate without fear of government retaliation for expressing it,” Paxton said in a statement following the brief’s release. Targeting Exxon over climate change is a no-go, according to the Texas Republican.
He added: “The attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York are abusing their law enforcement authority to suppress the free speech of a company they disagree with, violating ExxonMobil’s constitutional rights.”
The oil company has already provided 4 million documents to the New York AG’s office (OAG) since the probe began in 2015, according to a court memo Exxon filed on July 9. (RELATED: New York’s Climate Crusade Against Exxon Picks Up Steam Despite Schneiderman’s Exit)
If the documents were stacked on top of one another, the memo noted, it “would stand higher than the Empire State Building.” Exxon has also provided the AG’s office with 18 witnesses for interviews, who collectively have testified for 25 days.
Much of Massachusetts and New York’s initial probes were based on reports from liberal-leaning media outlet InsideClimate News, as well as Columbia University — both of which claim Exxon has known the risks of global warming for decades but kept such knowledge under wraps.
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