BY LARRY O'DELL
The Associated Press
RICHMOND -- Court records show the Virginia attorney general's office fought the disclosure of emails that ultimately led to a judge's rebuke and a state inspector general's investigation.
U.S. Magistrate Pamela Meade Sargent said earlier this summer she was shocked that the emails showed an assistant attorney general seemed to offer legal advice to lawyers for two energy companies being sued by southwest Virginia residents over natural gas royalties. Her criticism prompted the investigation, which has become an issue in Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's gubernatorial campaign.
Motions filed in federal court in Abingdon show Cuccinelli's office opposed turning over the emails to the plaintiffs. Cuccinelli's top deputy unsuccessfully tried to assert a legal doctrine that allows confidential communications between attorneys for separate parties in a case who have a common interest.