Judge signs motion to limit public comment on Larry Nassar case

Posted at 7:05 AM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 07:32:46-04

"Justice cannot be served if we can't get a clean jury," says judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

She quickly sided with the defense in court on Wednesday, the first time Larry Nassar appeared in circuit court.

His defense filed a motion to limit what attorneys and witnesses can say in public.

"This order is necessary," explains Shannon Smith, Nassar's attorney to judge Aquilina, "and it's the only way this court can balance the first amendment rights of the people involved with doctor Nassar's right to a fair trial and due process."

Smith says without the order, a "mob mentality" is being built. That could prevent a fair trial.

She says other attorneys talking about Nassar by calling him a monster, or alleged victims talking in the public eye won't allow for a fair jury because people will have beliefs already set before going into the courtroom.

"We need a fair and impartial jury," says Aquilina. "I don't know how we're going to get one if this continues as it has been."

The order as it stands now won't allow attorneys and witnesses to refer to Nassar publicly as anything besides his name or "defendant."

It also will limit them on what they can say about Nassar regarding his guilt or innocence.

The order right now only applies to the case in Ingham county circuit court, which involves a woman who claims she was sexually abused by Nassar when she was a little girl.

The defense hopes the order will stay in effect for the case in district court, should it be bound over to circuit court.