AG Depositions in Climate Change Probe ‘Highly Unusual’

A federal judge in Dallas has ordered the attorneys general of two Northeastern states to come to Texas next month to be deposed in a lawsuit brought by Exxon Mobil. The company has accused Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and New York AG Eric Schneiderman of unlawfully using their powers to investigate  whether the oil giant misled investors and the public by downplaying the impact of global warming. The company is seeking an injunction barring the attorneys general from demanding internal documents relating to climate change research and investor communications stretching back decades.

These investigations could have a potentially catastrophic effect on Exxon, based on the documents and information that have been made public so far, says attorney Chris Hamilton of Dallas’ Standly Hamilton. “However, allowing a company that is the subject of investigations to take depositions of elected state officials regarding their motivations is highly unusual and problematic. What would happen if a criminal defendant sought the deposition of a district attorney regarding the motivation for prosecuting a case? The precedent for a court to allow this type of tactic is concerning.

The judge’s order advised the officials to reserve Dec.13 for giving testimony in Dallas.

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