The Trial

I shouldn’t discuss it here, but commenters are welcome to.

[Update on the evening of February 8th]

Here is my official statement to the press: ” I am pleased that the jury found in my favor on half of the statements at issue in this case, including finding my statement that Professor Mann engaged in data manipulation was not defamation.  In over a decade of litigation, the sanctions levied against Professor Mann dwarf the judgment against me.”

[Bumped]

[Update a few minutes later]

Here is the story at the WaPo. You have to go in pretty far to learn that the judgment against me was for only a thousand bucks. He owes me $4400 for sanctions from deposition.

[Late-evening update on the west coast]

Thoughts from closing yesterday:

Williams argued that no one giving evidence had questioned Mann’s “integrity, reliability or credibility.” This ridiculous claim drew an immediate objection, which was overruled — although the judge said he would re-read the instructions on that subject.

Then Williams argued that Steyn and Simberg had not proven that they really believed that what they wrote was true. This was of course a complete mis-statement and reversal of the actual law and instruction on the key issue of actual malice. The statement drew an immediate objection, which was sustained. As a result of the mis-statement, the judge told the jury to ignore Mr. Williams’s statement and said that he would re-read to the jury the instructions as to defamation. He did that at the close of the argument. However, it was not clear to me that the jury understood that the re-reading was intended to correct Mr. Williams’s false version of the law and burden of proof as to actual malice. They could well be confused as to this, which was clearly Williams’s intent.

Next, Williams said that his client had no need to prove monetary harm, but the jury could award damages based on reputational or emotional harm. The problem with this one is that he had no evidence to cite as to the alleged reputational or emotional harm.

And finally, Williams made a pitch for punitive damages. In his pitch, Williams started to say “These attacks on climate scientists have to stop.” Again, there was an immediate objection, again sustained. In effect, Williams was arguing for abrogation of the First Amendment as to the climate debate. I find it outrageous. But will the jury?

Apparently, they didn’t…

[Late-night update]

Professor Curry has put up her expert report, that was not allowed into evidence, on her website.

85 thoughts on “The Trial”

  1. “I shouldn’t discuss it here, but commenters are welcome to.”

    If you did, I might have to give you a dirty look.

    1. Oh no, that dirty look might drive Rand to hang out with Leonardo DiCaprio.

      Congratulations to Rand on hiring the only counsel interested in trying a case of defamation. I’m lost on what the Plaintiff lawyer is trying to prove. A Certificate of Appreciation from the IPCC doesn’t make you Nobel Prize winner any more than a Christmas Card Leonardo DiCaprio makes you an Oscar winner.

  2. Ask and answered…

    At least I’ve been keeping my comments about the trial in the older Back On The Air thread, to be based strictly on the given testimony, rather than provide speculation that might wind me up as a surprise witness for the plaintiff.

    To paraphrase the late, great Don Rickles : Try not to be a hockey puck!

    1. So Mann doesn’t clearly seem to know or remember if he has had to pay any attorney’s fees or will have to after this trial is over, according to his testimony on the stand.

      Which begs the question, who is paying for his attorneys?

      Mann was so defamed that attorneys were willing to work for him for free or people/institutions (that will not be listed) were willing to pay for him to clear his good name?

      1. Leland,
        Due to recently receiving a small fortune from a Nigerian Prince, I’ve gotten this tax liability that, in order to cover, I have to sell this asset. You get first dibs. You can do pretty well on the daily tolls. What is your bid?

  3. David,

    I need it to be located in Arizona, somewhere near Tuscon. Can you accommodate? It will be great next to the oceanfront property I just purchased. You know, Global Warming and such!

    1. Well maybe we can apply for a government grant from the Biden Administration’s Dept. Of Homeland “Security” to relocate it as a means of getting over the border wall in order to assist undocumented refugees?

  4. “Michael Mann’s war on journalism continues as his lawyers demand the court ban journalists from asking him questions. As part of his war, podcast presenters Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney became part of the courtroom drama today. Phelim’s questions to Professor Mann outside the courthouse didn’t please Mann or Mann’s lawyers. But does this justify Mann’s lawyer, John Williams, misrepresenting what happened?”

    lol, Mann is such a sad little dork.

    1. He’s the guy who in high school, got hung from the basketball goal by his briefs in an uber-wedgie.

      He’s been dreaming of his revenge ever since.

      The best portrayal of him was by Matt Damon in Interstellar though.

  5. Mann, questioned by his own attorney, explains that terms like “trick” and “black list” and “hide the decline” and “bastard” and even “racist” are all being taken out of context, do not indicate malice or reckless disregard, are completely benign or at most strong language expressing a deeply held opinion. In particular, with regard to calling Steve McIntyre “white supremacists”, Mann testifies that — actually — he was highlighting what he considered shoddy, flawed, statistical work by McIntyre, who had made the same sort of flawed analysis once also, coincidentally, used in an unrelated analysis by actual white supremacists. Cherry picking, in particular, selecting what data to include and what to ignore. Mann never INTENDED to be personal and the comparison is merely intended to be memorable, attention holding, not a statement of (defamatory) fact. Anyone who did construe his use of the term “white supremacist” in the same sentence as McIntyre as REFERRING to McIntyre instead of to just the results of his work was incorrect, perhaps an idiot.

    I paraphrase…

    Still, it’s all very much in line with the “sauce for the goose” being argued as very distinct from the “sauce for the gander”.

    1. You’re supposed to understand Mann’s vicious slurs in the best possible light. Every else’s witty turn of a phrase in the worst light.

      That is what makes Mann elite. His demand for a privilege he would deny to others.

  6. Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have a truly remarkable podcast that is documenting the trial. It’s available at Apple Podcast, Spotify, X, and ClimateChangeOnTrial.com. It’s really worth listening to.

    1. I just finished the latest, episode 8, podcast. It finished off Mann’s testimony. They said Rand would testify the next day, which I believe is today.

      1. I loved the fact that Rand’s lawyer pointed out that Mann had made mistakes on over half of his grant amounts in his 2020 deposition that had to be corrected in his 2023 deposition. Sheesh. These calculations did not require principal component analysis.

        1. These calculations did not require principal component analysis.

          No, they looked more like Red Noise. Which is not helpful when you’re trying to invert the hockey stick.

          With a decrease in one principle grant (Grant 11) of >10x we are 20dB down in terms of dollar amplitude as opposed to Red Noise’s 6dB per grant.

          1. With a decrease in one principle grant (Grant 11) of >10x we are 20dB down in terms of dollar amplitude

            I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by these results coming from an alleged serial data abuser.

          1. On the page your YouTube link lands, beside the shorten video, it also includes a link to this page from Dr. Judith Curry’s blog. Since this was published on Feb. 22, 2011 and readily available to plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel, I will divert a bit from my usual practice of commenting only about given testimony during the trial to cite this very relevant analysis as well.

            I might add that since Prof. Muller made this video he has changed his position on Climate Change and now fully supports the view the man-made CO2 is raising the temperature of the Earth. Notably however, I’ve seen no evidence to date that he has recanted his view concerning Dr. Mann’s Hockey Stick.

          2. In seeking out that clip, I did come across some of the changing views of Professor Mueller, but those changes are irrelevant to the trial for reasons noted (they came after the alleged defamation), and you can change your views generally on human caused climate change and still see the hockey stick as both fraudulent in total (as Mark suggests) or torturing data (as Rand suggests).
            Listening to the testimony, I’m not hearing Steyn saying throwing out the tree ring data after 1960 was the wrong thing to do. He’s questioning that if you can’t trust it after 1960, why can you trust it at any other time in the past? Mueller’s point is you present all the data, so that your tests can be fully replicated. Maybe someone can come up with a hypothesis that agrees with Mann keeping some data here but throwing it out there. But you have to present it all and then let others come to the same conclusion. Not presenting all the data properly is scientific misconduct.
            I’m looking forward to the defense showing what happens when one enters red noise into Mann’s model.

          3. I’ve always considered the very idea of requiring a FOIA request to obtain known additional data from any government funded “scientific” study to be a red flag.

            From MBH98:
            This work was supported by the NSF
            and the US Department of Energy. M.E.M. acknowledges support through the Alexander Hollaender
            Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellowship program of the Department of Energy.

  7. A general observation and a suggestion. Rand may not be able to do this but Mark might.

    Should they lose at trial and damages are awarded to Dr. Mann, I strongly urge Mark Steyn, if he is able and willing to pay and being a Canadian citizen, put his portion of the award in an escrow account under the executor-ship of Dr. Timothy Ball’s widow. With a stipulation that Dr. Mann will have to show up and sign for the award in person in the presence of Mrs. Ball in Canada.*

    *With representatives of the RCMP at the ready…

    1. I know this must be a relief for you, given your somber thoughts of the future at dinner a couple of weeks ago. But this travesty of justice can’t be allowed to stand, given that Mann’s minions are gloating, and emphasizing the idea that yours will be the fate of anyone who criticizes climate science. I know you want to be rid of this, and don’t blame you one bit. Appealing the verdict would just reopen the can of worms. But this must be fought somehow. Maybe the Koch brothers and Big Oil can finance a counter suit?

      1. Silly me, maybe I’m just too old fashioned and out of touch, but I can recall the days when science was settled by experiments instead of verdicts.

  8. After listening to Williams cross examination of Wyner, I started to feel sorry for the jury. I’m pretty familiar with some of the main characters involved, from when I used to follow Climate Audit, and I’m also familiar with some of the aspects of the statistical tools used, and things like autocorrelated time series, etc. But wow, I found the cross was staggeringly tedious. It must have gone miles over the heads of most of the jurors.

      1. Thanks, I had only been hearing Ann and Phelim’s dramatizations, so I just assumed it was Williams when I tuned in after the lunch break. I suspect that Williams would not have been so pedantic.

  9. Prof. Wyner missed a golden opportunity when presenting his red/blue/green reconstruction charts, when pestered by Peter Coyne on cross examination, that even the green reconstruction (all equally valid according the statistician Prof. Wyner) looked like a hockey stick. When I saw it I thought of a much better matching shape:

    Well Mr. Coyne, no, to me it looks like a boomerang…

    1. I thought that too. Yes, the climate trend “Boomerang” goes one direction, then turns and comes around the other direction.

  10. Yesterday Puxatawney Phil predicted Spring was just around the corner. Has anyone done a statistical analysis showing that Phil isn’t seeing his shadow on an exponentially increasing scale? Or does that model not include clouds? From a PaleoPhil Reconstruction study I heard on the radio yesterday he had only a 40% accuracy. Worse than a coin toss.

    1. True enough. I rely on the migratory birds, and the ducks and geese are positively thunderous. And rarely wrong.

  11. I doubt that many people would catch what was likely the most impressive part of McIntyre’s CV. He stood first in Canada on the Senior Math Contest. That is why he was offered scholarships to MIT, Harvard and Oxford. I have some personal experience with the contest. Steve’s accomplishment marks him as a mathematical prodigy. It’s like the #1 5 star high school quarterback, or the top NFL draft pick, along with the Heisman. In terms of mathematics, he’s a giant compared to Mann.

    1. I didn’t think McIntyre made for as compelling a witness as did Dr. Wyner. Even though McIntyre has published far more on the hockey stick hoke’m. As is often the case with experts who are not trained lecturers, like good teaching professors, they write far better than they speak publicly.

      I didn’t watch the cross. Will wait for the podcast.

      1. I agree that McIntyre is not as good a performer as Wyner. However, he does have an endearing quality to him, and he has a lot more details at his finger tips.

    1. Not sure that is McKitrick on the right. Doesn’t line up with other photos of him I’ve seen. Not sure who that is. My bad.

  12. I was impressed by Rand’s testimony. It seemed like the plaintiff counsel was trying to object to every email and or article that was entered into evidence, but the judge seems to finally putting his foot down on efforts to run out the clock. Could the overruled objections be the foundation for appeal if plaintiff loses?

    1. Could the overruled objections be the foundation for appeal if plaintiff loses?

      I’d guess the basis for appeal is if the plaintiff’s benefactor(s) decide it is advantageous to keep it in the courts. It isn’t generating much press in the MSM, so it can’t be doing much to discredit the defendants one way or another. And now that it is down to just two individuals and not mainstream conservative media outlets, what’s the point?

      1. Speaking of pointless…

        What’s a “dirty look” at Wegmans worth? As opposed to Whole Foods, Albertsons, Winn/Dixie, Krogers, IGA, Meiers, County Market, Market Basket or Walmart?

        Is there a sliding scale?

  13. I understand the question being tried is with the jury. I realize the podcast is a bit bias, but it is surprising the trial got to jury. I guess the judge doesn’t really mind Mann wasting the courts time with key evidence of injury changing years after filing the case and presenting the bad data to the jury. It is almost as if the data is still being manipulated and people who should care not caring.
    Then Plaintiff wasted more time with two irrelevant witnesses, one of which seemed to clearly show that Mann’s fame grew after the supposed defamation. So much time wasted that Steyn and Simberg had to drop two witnesses. Plaintiff got plenty of time to make a case and the defense gets their time constrained because of it. That plenty of time was used to build a weaker case than originally presented to the court.

    1. Three words: DC Superior Court.

      I look at the odds at 50/50. I feel like the key hinge point is how badly the jury feels Dr. Mann injured Dr. Curry. I doubt if they give a damn about anything else. I hope I’m wrong but I doubt that too.

      Too bad the trial wasn’t in any other neutral jurisdiction, which would have made the most sense.

      I’d like to also know how the plaintiff got to pick their jurisdiction? If I want to press civil charges against a seed company gouging on the price of wheat seeds, I’d sure like that trial to be held in Kansas…

  14. From the Washington Post:
    The jury awarded Mann $1,000 from Simberg and $1 million from Steyn in punitive damages, meant to punish wrongdoing. And it granted Mann $1 in compensatory damages from each writer for Mann’s actual losses.

    Pay the damn money and forget it. Mark has more of a challenge. He’ll need to sell a helluva lot more Liberty Sticks. Maybe he will appeal?

    As bad as any award is in this case, at least it isn’t a Rudy.

    As I figured, the jury didn’t like Mark Steyn and his approach in court and made their feelings known.

    Justice in the US is more about Bull and nothing about Mason. I hope to hell if/when Mars, it is better there.

  15. I’ve been thinking that the DC District Court needs to be abolished as an aberration. All DC needs is a court system that handles crimes that happen in DC, such as theft, carjacking, and whatnot. The function of handling federal cases should have a broader jury pool, perhaps one pulled from the several states. As it is, the jury pool is less bipartisan than one pulled from the DNC convention, on top of which they’re almost entirely dependent on the government.

      1. Government workers, dependents, and contractors are not peers. They are mamluks. They are slaves. They should not vote. They should not serve on juries. The ‘Abbasids had it right.

  16. Sorry to hear this, though given the venue I shouldn’t be surprised. The relatively low $ amounts are sort of a cushion to the blow. Another sign that the process is the punishment, and 2+2=5

    1. I think that might have hurt Steyn. No matter how much you may agree with Steyn, he was standing in front of a DC jury telling them our legal system is screwed up with a foreign accent. Once might seem appropriate, but the repetition likely pissed off some “proud” jurors.

  17. I suppose it is a bittersweet resolution – at least it’s over. But it’s shameful that the judge let it go to jury after the plaintiffs attorney’s malfeasance.

    1. Excellent work.

      Rand I have say I was extremely impressed with your witnesses and your attorneys, esp. Ms. Weatherford, who did an outstanding job.

      Dr. Curry’s post shows the huge amount of diligence on her part.
      And of course, McIntyre & McKitrick, whose work continues.

      If anything good can be said about the outcome of this trial, there was at least the opportunity to obtain some awesome group photos of the defendants and their witnesses. Maybe worth $1001, but not $1,000,001

  18. Could you please post the jury findings on each statement made by you and Mark Steyn? I would like to know what particularly they thought about conscious doubts about the truthfulness of the statements.

    Certainly, posting a PDF of the verdict findings on the questionnaire would be more than sufficient.

  19. Wondering if Dr. Mann will frame his dollar awards from each of Rand and Mark and hang it on his wall at home next to his Nobel Prize?

  20. Roger Pielke, who testified on Tuesday, offers his observations today: Basically, that Mann had what success he had in the verdict because he was able to shift the trial from being about defamation into a larger crusade for a naturally sympathetic jury.

    “…In contrast, the prosecution was — in the words of the court, “disjointed” — and was reprimanded on multiple occasions by the judge, most notably for knowingly providing false information to the jury on alleged damages suffered by Mann.⁵ When I was cross-examined, Mann’s lawyer had considerable trouble getting basic facts right like timelines and who said what.⁶

    “Even so, in a trial that most neutral observers would surely see as favoring the arguments of the defense, Mann walked away with a resounding, comprehensive victory.⁷ How did that happen?

    “In my view, there were two absolutely pivotal moments in the trial.

    “One occurred when Mann was testifying and he explained that he felt that the bloggers were not just criticizing him, but they were attacking all of climate science, and he could not let that stand. As the world’s most accomplished and famous climate scientist, Mann intimated that he was simply the embodiment of all of climate science.

    “For the jury, this set up the notion that this trial was not really about Mann, but about attacks on all of climate science from climate deniers.

    “The second pivotal moment occurred when in closing arguments Mann’s lawyer asked the jury to send a message to right-wing science deniers and Trump supporters with a large punitive damage award.”

    Link: https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/false-equivalence

    Pielke offers one other thought in a footnote: “There is a case to be made that Simberg actually won his case, suffering only $1,001 in damages, and that the big loser was Steyn. Further, a case can be made that had Steyn not represented himself, he too may have won in similar fashion. Perhaps.” Given that, as Rand himself has observed, Mann actually owes Rand over $4K in discovery damages, that makes sense.

    1. Disagree re Steyn. I think they figured that since Steyn had been on TV, he had deep pockets. Of course, that is a false assumption.

  21. Wow, I can’t believe it’s finally over after all of these years. I’m not sure what I’ll do with all of my newfound free time now that the series is over. Rand, have thought about an encore lawsuit? I hear Taylor Swift is pretty litigious.

  22. Earlier I was reading that the Supreme Court has held that punitive damages must be proportionate to compensatory damages, otherwise due process is violated.

    BMW v Gore

    Held: If actual damages amount to only $4,000, a punitive damages award of $2 million violates due process because it is so disproportionate.

    More depth can be found in a discussion of State Farm v Campbell (PDF).

    Under the rough guideposts from BMW v Gore, Steyn and yourself shouldn’t have to pay more than $10.

  23. Monday morning quarterbacking here, but:

    It appears to my mind-reading talent that the jury, with the single dollar awards, is signaling that the essays in question DO have an extremely small chance of being misconstrued by random idiots in the grocery store as accusing Mann of pedophilia. The essays’ accusations of “fraud” appear to me to be sustained. I note that nothing in Mann’s complaint attempted to prove he was NOT a pedophile, nor nothing in the defense attempted to prove he actually was.

    Both defenders hammered on the “truth” of the claims. They claimed “Fraud” and “Whitewash — just like the pedo-investigation”.

    I wonder if the defense might not have surrendered the point, in closing, that some idiots might mistakenly infer that the “Jerry Sandusky of Climate Science” line referred to sex rather than climate, and even apologize for a clumsy phrasing might have misled idiots into a belief that neither Simberg nor Steyn held or intended to espouse … while still standing firm on “fraud”. I think the grocery store / “They crossed the line” argument was what won Mann his one dollar.

  24. The only plausible response to this verdict and the precedent it sets is for individuals with means to file suit against any individual writer who says anything about them. For instance, Rand could have a plausible defamation suit against Reed Timmer for his Ars article. The article is biased and defamatory in that it mentions the $1001 assessment against him, while failing to mention the $4000 sanction against Mann, resulting in a net profit to Rand. A lie of omission is still a lie.

    This doesn’t solve the problem, but it does constitute punching back. Cancel culture is based on defamation. So set a back-fire.

    1. Having followed the trial closely, which John Timmer obviously did not, his article only convinces me that there is nothing published at Ars worth reading other than Eric Berger. Who I desperately wished would find another publisher.

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