Penn State professor Michael Mann filed a defamation suit against two publishers Tuesday for “utterly false and defamatory statements,” according to court documents.
Journalists for the National Review, Inc . and the Competitive Enterprise Institute –– Rand Simberg and Mark Steyn –– wrote that Mann had committed academic fraud and compared him to the former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky , according to the documents.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison .
In an article published on OpenMarket.org for the CEI, Simberg wrote, “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science.”
Mann, a meteorology professor at Penn State, has been recognized nationally for his research on global warming and is one of the first scientists to discover rising surface temperatures in the 20th century. This discovery is known as the “Hockey Stick Graph.”
In 2007, Mann was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his research.
According to court documents, Simberg and Steyn called Mann’s work a “hoax” and argued that he fabricated his data for the results in two separate publications.
Mann’s work was called under review in 2009 when more than 350 emails relating to Mann’s research were illegally retrieved, thus starting a university investigation.
In 2010, Mann was cleared by the university of illegally conducting research after a five-month investigation.
The National Science Foundation cleared Mann in August 2011 after a two-year investigation.
Attorney for the National Review, David Rivkin said that they find the suit “surprising” and cannot remember the last time a scientist sued for defamation “arising out of context of vigorous dispute.”
“We feel the lawsuit is lacking in merit and we expect to prevail,” Rivkin said.
Mann deferred comment to a post he made on Facebook .
“There is a larger context for this latest development, namely the onslaught of dishonest and libelous attacks that climate scientists have endured for years by dishonest front groups seeking to discredit the case for concern over climate change,” Mann wrote in the post.
University Spokeswoman Jill Shockey wrote in an email that the university declines comment on pending litigation.