Thursday, February 2, 2023

AG files application for leave to appeal reversing of Klages conviction, shares update on Simon case

February 14, 2022
<p>The Hannah Administration Building at sunset Dec. 7, 2019.</p>

The Hannah Administration Building at sunset Dec. 7, 2019.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Attorney General Dana Nessel filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, or MSC, on Monday, in response to a Court of Appeals, or COA, opinion that reversed the conviction of former Michigan State University Coach Kathie Klages, according to a press release from the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

The Michigan COA ruled, on Dec. 21, there was insufficient evidence Klages made false or misleading statements to the police that was material to the investigation into convicted ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar and MSU’s handling of abuse allegations, reversing Klages’ conviction. 

According to the release, Nessel stated in the application, the COA’s review is necessary, and that the jury rightly convicted Klages of making false statements that were material to the attorney general’s investigation conducted by its special agents.

“The COA’s decision could set a harmful precedent for future cases and must be taken up by the MSC,” Nessel said in the release. “We are asking the Court to reverse the ruling and reinstate the conviction or adopt Judge Borrello’s dissent that properly found her false statements were essential to our investigation.” 

Additionally, the COA upheld the decision to dismiss charges against former MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon in December 2021.

The Attorney General’s office filed an appeal brief in the COA, which led to the December decision.  

According to the release, Nessel remains confident in the case built and presented against Simon. Despite this, the COA’s opinion will not be appealed. 

“The only judge that actually saw the witnesses, and heard the evidence directly, found the evidence presented against President Simon established probable cause that she knew about the allegations and that she purposely provided evasive, misleading, and dishonest answers to the Department of Attorney General’s investigators,” Nessel said in the release. “As the voice for survivors across the state, we always prioritize a victim-centered approach. To that end, we understand a long appellate process is not always the best way we can support survivors.” 

One survivor involved in the cases, Amanda Thomashow shared a statement in the press release.

“There is no justice in a system that compounds the pain of the very victims it relies on while simultaneously allowing the people that cause large scale harm to skirt accountably,” Thomashow said. “I also now know the current system lacks viable avenues to healing, accountability, or justice—as we have seen time and time again, and we all deserve better.”

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