Exxon hires 'Deflategate' lawyer for climate investigation

Exxon hires 'Deflategate' lawyer for climate investigation
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ExxonMobil Corp. has hired the lawyer famous for investigating the NFL's “Deflategate” scandal to defend the company during a probe into whether it mislead the public about its climate change research. 

Ted Wells and a partner will represent Exxon in New York’s investigation into the company’s climate science, Reuters reports

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Wells has previously worked with Exxon on other environmental defense matters, including a $225 million settlement with New Jersey regulators. 

But Wells’s highest-profile client of late has been the NFL, which commissioned him to investigate whether the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs to gain an advantage in the AFC title game earlier this year. 

In May, Wells reported that “it is more probable than not” that they did so, implicating quarterback Tom Brady along the way. The NFL suspended Brady to begin the current NFL season, but a judge dismissed the suspension based on lack of evidence. 

Wells will now face off against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Exxon. Schneiderman subpoenaed climate documents from Exxon last month, looking for evidence to back up reporting from the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News that concluded Exxon mislead the public about its knowledge of climate change. 

The company has denied the allegations and has since pressured Columbia University — where some of the reporters hail from — on their reporting. University officials have publicly defended the journalists. 

The reporting has caused a firestorm among green groups, which have called for a federal investigation into the company. Many Democras have done the same, including the three presidential candidates. 

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that the company could face a record lawsuit if the claims against it are true, comparing it the class-action suits filed against tobacco companies in light of their hidden research into cigarette health risks.