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Attorney general clarifies MSU investigation

December 26, 2019
Beaumont Tower on Aug. 23, 2019.
Beaumont Tower on Aug. 23, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

After a spokesperson for the Michigan attorney general's office said the investigation into the Michigan State administration was suspended until additional information is provided, Attorney General Dana Nessel said the comment was misleading in a Dec. 25 statement, clarifying her commitment to investigating MSU.

The investigation has been blocked because the attorney general's office could not secure an interview with ex-MSU Interim President John Engler as well more than 6,000 documents regarding the case MSU administration officials say are held under attorney-client privilege.

Renee Knake was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees after Nancy Schlichting resigned due to MSU's lack of cooperation regarding the documents in question.

"For the record, I remain deeply committed to finding the truth about who knew what about Larry Nassar at MSU. Our department has continued to make it clear — over and over again — that we are at an impasse with MSU," Nessel said in the statement. "It remains unclear how anyone at MSU — including trustees — can say with certainty that the information contained in those documents is not relevant to our investigation. In fact, the depth and breadth the university has gone to in withholding those documents only increases our fervor to obtain them."

In 2018, Nassar was convicted of serial sexual assault against numerous women during the time he served as a doctor for USA Gymnastics and as a doctor for MSU. Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges and sentenced to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault against minors.

Nessel's office also said they successfully convicted former MSU dean William Strampel and mentioned ongoing cases against ex-MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon and Kathie Klages, a former gymnastics coach.

"Let me be clear: Despite this impasse, we are committed to continuing to pursue MSU's role in the Larry Nassar tragedy," Nessel said in a press release.

Nassar is currently serving his 60 year sentence in Federal prison. The scandal brought questions about MSU's handling of this investigation and to their treatment of sexual assault survivors.

Soon after Nassar's sentencing, the Attorney General's office opened the investigation into Michigan State University.

Separately, the U.S Department of Education fined MSU $4.5 million after an investigation found failures to create mandated crime reporting and public safety networks.

The MSU Board of Trustees could still vote to release these documents, if not, the investigation will stay halted.

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