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No Deus Exxon Machina

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

ExxonMobil just got some bad news.

The New York State Supreme Court is requiring the oil giant and its accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to turn over documents subpoenaed by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He’s conducting a fraud investigation into the company, spurred by a report from InsideClimate News last year that revealed Exxon knew fossil fuel burning was heating up the atmosphere back in the 1970s and deliberately misled the public about it.

Earlier this month, Exxon attempted to halt the investigation by suing Schneiderman, as well as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and arguing that their investigations are politically motivated.

Exxon has also been arguing, under a Texas statute, that documents held by PricewaterhouseCoopers are privileged. But yesterday, the New York court ruled against the company on that point. The court, as the Washington Post reports, determined that New York law, not Texas law, governs the dispute, and ordered the company to comply with Schneiderman’s subpoena.

Schneiderman was pleased with the ruling, of course. He said he looks forward to “moving full-steam ahead with our fraud investigation” and called on Exxon to “cooperate with, rather than resist,” the probe.

ExxonMobil has no such intention. The company said it will appeal the ruling.