Perhaps the oldest of legal maxims is that one should enter a court of law with clean hands. Too bad Michael Mann, wizard of the crooked hockey stick, has ignored that tidbit of the best legal advice ever given. Or not.
Mann filed suit on Tuesday against National Review, Mark Steyn, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a blogger, Rand, alleging that he was libeled by the defendants who had the audacity to point out Mann had a bad habit of torturing data to reach a predetermined conclusion.
Mann, who’s on the public payroll at Penn State University, has battled every effort to shine sunlight on his techniques, such as “Mike’s Nature Trick” to manipulate data to put current trends into context with changes over longer periods of time.
What’s Mann seems not to grasp is that even though he filed suit, he’ll be subject to questioning by the attorneys for the people and organizations he is suing.
There’s no out for him to dodge those questions, the very ones he has tried to dodge for years now. Moreover, that information, called discovery, is public.
The targets in his suit, of course, have reason to want to make public the very information that Mann has battled to keep secret.
It’s entirely possible that there have been bigger blunders. Invading Russia in the winter leaps to mind, ask Napoleon. Signing with the San Diego Chargers just before the Denver Broncos sign Peyton Manning also is in that class. Just ask Eddie Royal.
Here’s the Cheap Seats guess about what transpires next: Mann smirks as the defendants are questioned, then decides to wriggle out of the case when it dawns on him that he’ll have to answer some uncomfortable questions, such as how he arrived at the hockeystick embarrassment, er, graph.
Question is, can he find a judge who will let him out of the suit he filed or will he have to finish what he started?
Or will he find himself cross-checked?