Motions to be discussed in Nassar court hearing Friday
A number of motions in the upcoming Ingham County trial for ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar will be addressed in court Friday. Among the motions to be reviewed include a change of venue for the trial, the contempt of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and including or excluding Nassar's child pornography charges as forms of evidence.
The court hearing will take place Friday at noon and will be held in the Veterans Memorial Court in Lansing. Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will oversee the hearing.
Prior to scheduling the court hearing to review motions, Nassar's attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg, filed motions on Oct. 20 and the Michigan Attorney General's Office filed motions on Oct. 20.
The motions filed by Nassar's defense, according to the Lansing State Journal, hope to:
- Change Nassar's Ingham County trial venue to another location
- Adjourn the trial as the defense needs time to review upwards of 55,000 pages of information from Schuette's office
- Exclude findings from the MSU Title IX office's investigation of potential violations by Nassar — attorneys argue Nassar couldn't cooperate in investigations due to the criminal cases
- Offer evidence of an alleged victim's sexual history — attorneys argue the alleged victim was sexually assaulted prior to contact with Nassar
- Quash four counts of first degree criminal conduct for being "too vague"
- Seek records from health care providers to find more information on six alleged victims' medical conditions
- Seek access to records of an alleged victims' counseling sessions with a therapist
These motions follow Aquilina's denial of a motion on Oct. 13 to push back Nassar's Ingham County trial until after his federal sentencing, which Nassar's lawyers argued would allow Nassar to have a fair trial.
They argued media interest surrounding the federal sentencing would not allow a fair trial, and given that the Ingham County trial jury selection is scheduled for the same week as Nassar's federal sentencing, they said postponing it would allow that fair trial.
Aquilina denied this motion and told the courtroom she was "shocked and dismayed at this request," citing the jury's instructions to ignore media reports.
The motions filed by the Michigan Attorney General's Office on Oct. 20, according to the Lansing State Journal, hope to:
- Admit the testimony of six women, ranging from local gymnasts to gold medal gymnasts
- Admit Nassar's child pornography charges as other forms of evidence for the Ingham County trial
The motion to admit the testimony of six women, who aren't connected to his criminal charges, prompted another motion from Nassar's attorneys. Now, Nassar's attorneys want Schuette held in contempt and to prevent those six witnesses from testifying.
They allege Schuette violated Aquilina's gag order, which limits what alleged victims and their attorneys can say publicly about the case and their personal experiences.
Smith and Newburg allege the media was further "saturated" by some of these women, who made public comments before Schuette introduced them as witnesses.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing over 140 women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. He was arrested in December 2016 on charges of possessing “at least 37,000” images of child pornography to which he has pleaded guilty. His sentencing for these charges is set for Dec. 7.
Nassar additionally faces criminal sexual assault charges in Ingham County and Eaton County. Trials for these charges will begin in early 2018. He is also a defendant in a number of civil cases, many alongside MSU.
Stay with The State News for coverage of the court hearing.