Engler penned letter to special counsel regarding seizure of documents
On the first day of his tenure as interim president at MSU, John Engler sent a letter to William Forsyth, the special independent counsel appointed by Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate MSU, expressing disappointment over the investigation’s seizure of documents from the College of Osteopathic Medicine on Friday.
The letter, obtained by the Lansing State Journal, begins with several paragraphs stating MSU’s goals regarding the investigation, including finding if anyone knew or covered up ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse, knowing what warning signs wee missed and acting on Engler’s promise to change the culture at MSU.
Engler misspells Nassar’s name in the letter, as well as Forsyth’s.
After reiterating his policy is “that of full cooperation” regarding pending investigations of MSU, Engler also wrote he was disappointed about the investigation’s actions during the seizure of documents.
“Your decision to arrive without warning at the Hannah Administration Building with search warrants and camera crews was not in keeping with your reputation in Kent County for 30 years,” Engler wrote. “It was also very much at odds with the cooperation I have pledged and had understood as being received by your investigators.”
Engler claims a meeting was scheduled between Forsyth’s team and MSU’s outside counsel for the morning the documents were seized, which Forsyth’s team canceled the afternoon of Jan. 31.
“I realize that I was not the Interim President on Friday, but I would have appreciated a call regarding any perceived lack of cooperation, which we would emphatically dispute,” Engler wrote.
In the letter, Engler stressed that the investigation must not be “political,” as pledged by the attorney general. However, Engler sees the presence of camera crews as a politicization.
“Hopefully, their presence was not part of an investigation 'media strategy' but rather inadvertent and the result of indiscrete (sic) behavior that can be stopped,” Engler wrote. “Leaks regarding any activities undertaken by your office need to be prevented so that the final results are accepted as the product of a serious investigation. Your credibility depends on that, as does the MSU community’s need for a report that is viewed as objective and complete. We owe this to the survivors.”
Engler ended his letter by thanking Forsyth for taking the assignment.
Engler carbon copied the MSU Board of Trustees, Governor Rick Snyder, and the leaders of the Michigan House and Senate on his letter.
A spokesperson for Engler referred to the seizing of documents as "a political stunt rather than an actual law enforcement action" on the day of the event, according to the Lansing State Journal.