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Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University physician accused of sexually assaulting more than 100 gymnasts, is expected to plead guilty to federal child pornography charges, according to a signed document that is expected to be filed next week in federal court.

The plea agreement, obtained Friday by The Detroit News, shows that Nassar is agreeing to plead guilty to three charges including receipt and possession of child porn and destruction and concealment of records.

Nassar downloaded numerous pornographic images of children and videos in 2004 and had possession of hard drives with thousands of images, according to the document. But when he became aware law enforcement was investigating him in September, he paid a store $49 to wipe his computer and threw away several hard drives in a trash can, according to the document.

“The defendant then turned the wiped laptop over to his employer,” the document says. “Forensic analysis of the machine revealed that the defendant had completely wiped it of all content.”

Investigators recovered the hard drives from the trash can he had placed by the road for collection, and forensic analysis revealed thousands of images on two of the hard drives he had thrown away, the document says.

“The defendant is pleading guilty because he is guilty of the charges described above,” says the plea agreement, which was signed by Nassar on June 23 and one of his attorneys, Matt Newburg, on July 5.

Newburg and Shannon Smith, Nassar’s other attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

Kaye Hooker, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Michigan, also could not be reached for comment.

The document shows the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids agrees not to further prosecute Nassar for conduct that allegedly occurred in his swimming pool during the summer 2015 involving two minor children or for alleged sexual misconduct that happened during interstate or international travel between 2006 and 2012 involving two other children.

The agreement, if formally filed and accepted, means there will be no scheduled August federal trial for Nassar, who was also the team physician for USA Gymnastics during four Olympic Games. He remains in federal custody.

In December, an FBI agent testified that 37,000 images or videos of child pornography were found on Nassar’s property, including videos allegedly depicting Nassar in his swimming pool sexually assaulting young girls.

The agreement says Nassar understands the penalties for the charges to which he is pleading guilty — not less than five years and not more than 20 years on the charges of child porn receipt and not more than 20 years for the charges of child porn possession and destruction and concealment. He also acknowledges he may be required to serve the sentences consecutively, pay mandatory restitution, lose his professional license and must register as a sex offender.

The document indicates the agreement will not have legal force if Nassar’s lawyers didn’t return it to the U.S. Attorney’s Office by Friday — unless the U.S. attorney chooses to accept it after the Friday deadline. A source close to the case confirmed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office received the document this week.

Nassar, 53, was indicted on the two child pornography charges in September when authorities were investigating the first sexual assault allegations that emerged against him. More than 100 women have filed civil lawsuits against him and 100 women have filed complaints with MSU Police. In February, a third charge of destruction and concealment of records and tangible objects was added to the federal indictment.

It’s not clear what impact the expected plea agreement will have on the three scheduled trials Nassar faces this year in state court involving scores of first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. They stem from allegations that Nassar sexually assaulted young gymnasts by digitally penetrating them under the guise of medical treatment.

According to the document obtained by The News, Nassar downloaded images and videos of child pornography between Sept. 18, 2004, and Dec. 1, 2004, with a program called “NewsRover.”

“At the time the defendant downloaded this material, he knew it was child pornography,” the document says.

Nassar also knowingly possessed thousands of images and videos of child porn between 2003 and 2016 on an AcomData hard drive and other devices, according to the document.

“The images of child pornography possessed included images that involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.”

Authorities began investigating Nassar in August when a former gymnast, Rachael Denhollander, came forward and filed an allegation that Nassar assaulted her when she was 15. An Indiana newspaper published her story on Sept. 12.

According to the plea agreement, Nassar went to a computer service store a week later, on Sept. 19, and asked workers to permanently delete all the data, including the operating system.

On or around Sept. 20, Nassar threw away several hard drives in his trash can that police recovered.

“At the time the defendant took the actions described above, he was aware that law enforcement was investigating his activities and he feared this investigation would reveal that he had, among other things, received and possessed child pornography,” the court document says. “He took the above actions with the intent to impede and obstruct this contemplated investigation.”

MSU fired Nassar on Sept. 20.

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com

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