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Preliminary hearing for ex-MSU President Simon underway

Posted at 5:42 AM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 23:01:14-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A hearing to determine if former Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon will stand trial is underway Friday morning.

MSU Trustee Brian Mosallam was first to take the stand. He told the court that as a board member he was part of an interview in 2018 with the Michigan State Police. He says he didn't know it was a part of a criminal investigation.

Next was State Trooper, Det. Joseph Cavanaugh. He was assigned to the investigation in 2018. He says that he told interviewees that they were part of a criminal investigation.

Friday, July 12 will be the sixth day of Simon's preliminary hearing. The hearing began in February.

Simon is charged with two felony and two misdemeanor counts of lying to police about when she knew about complaints against now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The four charges stem from the Michigan Attorney General Office's investigation into MSU's handling of the Nassar scandal.

Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. William Ardnt testified that he and MSP Lt. Joseph Cavanaugh
interviewed Simon on May 1, 2018 at the MSP headquarters in Dimondale.

Ardnt says he asked Simon whether she was aware of any prior investigation with Larry Nassar or before news of his sexual assaults became public in 2016. Simon said she was aware in 2014 that there was a sports medicine doctor who was subject to review, but wasn't aware of the substance of that review or the nature of the complaint.

Amanda Thomashow filed a complaint against Nassar on April 18, 2014, claiming Nassar had sexually assaulted her during a medical appointment on March 24.

The complaint was forwarded to MSU's Title IX Office.

MSU's internal office cleared Nassar and he continued to abuse patients for two more years before the university fired him in September 2016.

Simon told investigators she didn't know about complaints against Nassar until 2016.

Ardnt said police obtained a meeting agenda from May 19, 2014, that shows Simon and an adviser, Paulette Russell, discussed Nassar and the sexual assault investigation.

During the fifth day of Simon's preliminary hearing, Eaton County Judge Reincke said she reviewed documents indicating there's "probable cause" that Simon "knew what was going on" with the 2014 complaint against Nassar.

Simon could face up to four years in prison if convicted on the felony charges.

A seventh day for the hearing has been set aside for Tuesday, July 23 if needed.

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