Nassar continues resentencing fight despite Supreme Court rejection
Lansing — Larry Nassar is continuing his bid for resentencing in Ingham County despite new Michigan Supreme Court orders limiting options for the serial pedophile to reduce what will still effectively amount to a lifetime behind bars.
The state’s highest court on Wednesday declined to hear Nassar's plea for resentencing in Eaton County, where he was sentenced to between 40 and 125 years in prison on sexual assault convictions on top of a 60-year federal sentence for child pornography.
Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, said it was “serendipitous” that Nassar’s application in the Eaton County case was denied during Sexual Assault Awareness Monday.
“While we cannot reverse the reprehensible damage, destruction and pain he’s caused, we hope this brings some comfort to survivors knowing he will spend the rest of his life in prison,” she said in a statement.
The Michigan Supreme Court also declined to revisit a Court of Appeals ruling that limited the scope of Nassar’s resentencing request in Ingham County, where litigation is ongoing.
Attorneys from the state appellate defenders office who are representing Nassar on Thursday filed their latest briefing in that case.
They contend the former Michigan State University sports doctor was denied impartial and unbiased treatment by Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who had described the 40- to 175-year sentence she handed down as a “death warrant.”
Nassar had pleaded guilty, and the agreement allowed for a minimum sentence of between 25 and 40 years in prison. Aquilina gave him the maximum sentence of at least 40 years and up to 175 years, to be served in addition to his 60-year federal sentence.
“Judge Aquilina made numerous statements throughout the proceedings indicating that she had already decided to impose the maximum allowed by the sentence agreement even before the sentencing hearing began,” Nassar’s attorneys wrote. “Thus, from the defendant’s perspective the sentencing hearing was just a ritual.”
At least 169 victims, family members or supporters spoke out against Nassar during the seven-day sentencing hearing in Ingham County. While those statements made national news and garnered praise for victims who confronted their abuser.
But Nassar’s attorneys accuse Aquilina of allowing the proceedings to “devolve into a free-for-all, in which speakers were given free rein to denigrate the defendant, sometimes in profane terms,” to wish him physical harm and to criticize his right to legal representation.
Aquilina has defended her handling of the case, as has the Michigan attorney general’s office, which is fighting Nassar’s bid for resentencing.
While some of her comments may have been “inartful,” Aquilina was channeling the “moral outrage” of the community, the state has said in previous filings.
The appeals court is considering whether Nassar should be resentenced before a different judge for the Ingham County convictions.
“This case has been of significant public interest, and thus it is important that this Court demonstrate that Michigan’s judicial system is governed by the rule of law,” his attorneys firstname.lastname@example.org