"Kroll", the consulting firm that was hired to dig up information on the women accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault has now been hired by Michigan State University to help investigate sexual assault claims.
Today FOX 47's Alani Letang asked the Michigan State University's Interim President John Engler about the company's past. Engler told Letang he knew about that when MSU hired Kroll and doesn't see a problem with it.
He said he also doesn't see a problem with former governor and MSU alumn Jim Blanchard's law firm representing the MSU while Blanchard helps run the university. "We knew that there were people in that firm who had had that relationship," said John Engler.
Engler told FOX 47 he won't be working with those specific people and he doesn't think the firm's credibility should be based on its past work. "Just as I might disagree with one news networks coverage of some issue I wouldn't blame all news networks for that. Kroll's very respected and I'm excited about the work that they are going to do," said Engler.
Engler said Detroit native, University of Michigan alumn and former Obama administration member, Nicole Lamb-Hale will lead the team that will help MSU investigate sexual assault and harassment claims. He said Lamb-Hale has no ties to the Harvey Weinstein case.
"And her colleague who was the general counselor of the University of Cincinnati has zero to do with what happened on the west coast or in Hollywood, and their focus is on sexual assaults," said Engler.
When Letang asked Engler about a potential conflict of interest in hiring former governor Jim Blanchard's law firm, DLA Piper, to represent MSU in federal investigations while Blanchard is helping to run the university. Here's what he had to say:
"It's absolutely not a conflict of interest. It's one of the silliest stories I've ever seen. It's a Washington based law firm. Jim Blanchard's a prominent partner in the firm. They've got an excellent reputation" said Engler.
Engler said the reputation of DLA Piper will help MSU and thinks that's more important than any potential conflict of interest. "They go on air and they say there's a conflict, they're just words. And there is simply no conflict. A conflict means there has to be something at odds, there's nothing" said Engler.
Just like Kroll has people with no connection to Harvey Weinstein, Enlger said Jim Blanchard is not the only partner at DLA Piper."There are other lawyers in the law firm he won't be just him we hired DLA Piper. To which he is a prominent partner, I'm very excited to have him on board."
Engler announced that he has seen a spike in the number of reported assaults. He said he's pleased to see people stepping forward so MSU can take action and help the victims get the treatment they need.
Engler hopes Kroll will eventually send in as many as six investigators. Engler said he believes three of them started working Tuesday.