If the defendants are found guilty of defamation, it would mean the judge believes the statement that climatologist Michael Mann "molested and tortured data" was false and made with "actual malice," meaning they knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that it was false.
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A 2013 study found the rate of warming since 1900 is 50 times greater than the rate of cooling in the previous 5000 years, which threatens to destroy the stable climate that enabled civilization. A new study confirms again that recent warming has been unprecedented in speed, scale, and cause.
It's becoming clearer every day that a candidate advocating climate action drives a wedge between the anti-science Tea Party extremists and the rest of the Republican party (and independent/moderate voters). The Virginia Governor's race is but the latest example.