Larry Nassar, the convicted serial sexual predator and former Olympic gymnastics doctor, who sexually abused at least 169 female victims, says he was unfairly punished by the judge who sentenced him to a maximum of 175 years in state prison, and he is seeking a new judge and sentencing hearing.
Attorneys from Michigan’s appellate defender’s office filed the appeal on Nassar’s behalf Wednesday morning. The appeal does not attempt to withdraw Nassar’s decision to plead guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and does not ask for a new trial. It asks the court to reconsider both the length of his sentence and for Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to recuse herself because she has, Nassar claims, exhibited bias against him.
During a seven-day court hearing in January, 169 survivors or their family members testified about Nassar’s decades of sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatments. Under the terms of a November 2017 plea deal, Nassar had agreed to allow the survivors to have their stories heard in open court.
If Judge Aquilina recuses herself and Nassar is granted a new sentencing hearing, it’s possible the Nassar survivors could be asked to once again provide victim-impact statements.
Attorney Mick Grewal who represents 111 Nassar Survivors said adding that a new sentencing hearing will “re-victimize” his clients, but many of his clients would be prepared to testify once again if necessary.
Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 total counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan. He admitted to using his position of authority as a well-respected doctor to manipulate young patients and sexually abuse them.
The 54-year-old former doctor is currently serving a 60-year federal prison sentence on child pornography charges. His state prison time would not begin unless he outlives the federal sentence. Nassar was sentenced to up to 125 years in state prison for his crimes in Eaton County. His plea deal in Ingham County stipulates a minimum sentence of 25-40 years, and the appeal does not seek to lower that number. In essence, this is a ploy to manipulate the system and perception because there is no chance Nassar would outlive even the minimum sentence.
It is not expected for Judge Aquilina to recuse herself.
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