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Nassar's attorneys argue for Ingham County resentencing

Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 17:04:59-05

LANSING, Mich. — Larry Nassar's attorneys are appealing the sentenced handed down by an Ingham County judge, claiming it wasn't fair.

55th District Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison on Jan. 24, 2018.

Nassar's lawyers claim Judge Aquilina's comments during his hearing crossed a line.

"The court below was under the mistaken impression that at a sentencing hearing, a judge does not need to be unbiased or impartial," said Jacqueline McCann, Nassar's lawyer.

Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of abusing young patients.

"It is my honor and privilege to sentence you," said Judge Aquilina during Nassar's sentencing hearing.

She also tossed a six-page letter Nassar wrote to the court instead of releasing it publicly.

"I wouldn't send my dogs to you," she said.

McCann argued Nassar should be treated like anyone else in the court system.

"From the beginning, the judge was in a sense, holding a political social rally and she wanted to be the star of that rally," said McCann.

Assistant Solicitor General Chris Allen said those actions aren't enough to go back and undo the sentencing.

"The judge maybe shouldn't have said those things and I can't disagree with you, your honor. But best practice isn't the same as reversible error," Allen said.

Allen said Judge Aquilina had to ease the tension that was building in the courtroom after hearing from more than 150 survivors.

"Looking at what a reasonable person, who knows everything that came before, would look at this and say 'that's some frustration' but that doesn't mean she's holding it against him in a way that is improper," he said.

It could be a while before the panel of three judges makes its decision a ruling could happen within weeks or even months.

Even if Nassar gets a new hearing, he's almost certain to die in prison.

He's serving 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges.

His state prison terms won't even start until the federal one ends.

In addition to the 40 to 175 years in Ingham County, he also got 40 to 125 years in Eaton County.

There are still two Nassar-related cases left to be resolved.

Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon is awaiting trial on charges she lied to investigators about when she learned Nassar was abusing patients.

Former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages was convicted of the same charge in Ingham County in February and is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.

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