WASHINGTON (AP) — In a landmark defamation case, climate scientist Michael Mann emerged victorious on Thursday as a jury ruled in his favor against two conservative writers. The writers, Rand Simberg and Mark Steyn, were found guilty of making false statements about Mann, including accusations of data manipulation and comparisons to a convicted child molester. The jury ordered each writer to pay $1 in compensatory damages to Mann. In addition, Steyn was ordered to pay $1 million and Simberg $1,000 in punitive damages for their malicious intent.
The case originated from a blog post and an article published in 2012 by Simberg and Steyn, respectively. The false statements made in these publications led to the defamation lawsuit brought forward by Mann. The jury’s verdict not only vindicates Mann but also sends a powerful message that attacking climate scientists with false claims will not be tolerated.
Steyn’s representative expressed their intention to appeal the $1 million award, while Simberg’s attorney stated their disappointment with the ruling and their plan to also appeal the decision. However, Mann remains hopeful that this verdict will discourage further attacks on climate scientists and highlight the importance of protecting their good name and reputation.
The background of the case dates back to 2009 when skeptics raised doubts about Mann’s research on rising global temperatures, specifically his “hockey stick” graph. Despite investigations by Penn State and others that found no wrongdoing or manipulation of data on Mann’s part, he continued to face criticism from conservative circles. This criticism culminated in Simberg’s comparison of Mann to a convicted child molester and Steyn’s characterization of him as the “man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockeystick’ graph.”
This legal victory for Mann holds significant implications for the scientific community and highlights the importance of defending the integrity of climate scientists. Mann’s lawyer, Pete Fontaine, described the verdict as a victory for truth and scientists everywhere who dedicate their lives to answering crucial scientific questions that impact human health and the planet.
The ruling in Mann’s favor serves as a reminder that responsible journalism and fair criticism are crucial in promoting honest and informed discussions about climate change. The case underscores the need to hold individuals accountable for spreading false information about scientific research. With this verdict, Mann hopes that his defamation suit will discourage further attacks on climate scientists and foster a healthier, fact-based discourse on the pressing issue of climate change.
Note: This article was written in AP News Style and does not quote any news organization.