EAST LANSING — Michigan State University has once again refused to release 6,000 documents related to the case of Larry Nassar, the former MSU doctor who sexually abused hundreds of women and girls.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has repeatedly requested the documents, which are protected by attorney-client privilege, and told the board weeks ago that she would be forced to end the investigation if they were not turned over by Friday.
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The university's General Counsel Brian Quinn wrote to Nessel Friday, saying in part,“Please be advised that the Board will not be taking such action and, thus, attorney-client privilege will be maintained. Thank you and the Department of Attorney General for all of your work and diligence.”
Dianne Byrum, chair of the university's Board of Trustees, said in a letter to the campus community that the board had "listened to many viewpoints on this topic over the past three years and have heard the feedback many of you have provided to us.
"We realize some members of the MSU community have disagreed with maintaining attorney-client privilege, so we wanted to share this information directly with you," she wrote, going on to say that MSU had worked to improve its policies and procedures related to sexual harassment and assault.
"There is more work to be done," she said. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are committed to continuing to address the changes needed for a safer and more respectful campus."
MSU's leaders asked the Attorney General's Office, then under the leadership of Nessel's predecessor, Bill Schuette, to conduct an investigation into the university's handling of Nassar's crimes and the complaints against him.
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Nassar's victims and community members have been vocal about the need for a clear investigation that could provide some sort of closure.
.@MIAttyGen @dananessel issued the following statement after Michigan State University declined her request that it waive privilege to the content of nearly 6,000 documents for the Department to review and complete its investigation: pic.twitter.com/NfU2Dr6Dz5— Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (@MIAttyGen) March 26, 2021
Nessel said in a statement that she was disappointed the investigation had to end the way it did.
"We can only emphasize again that justice doesn’t begin and end at the courthouse doors," she said. "Principles of truth, fairness, and equity should be lights that guide all of our public institutions, especially our schools; and, when our universities refuse to lead, they miss the most important way they can teach."
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