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Decision On Whether Ex-MSU President Simon Will Stand Trial Is Months Away

woman at table
WKAR File Photo
Former Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon appears in Eaton County Court.

It will be at least two months before we know whether former Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon will go to trial in connection with the Larry Nassar case. After closing statements, Eaton County Judge Julie Reincke allowed up to nine weeks for review of transcripts and briefs before her decision. 

Prosecutors accused Simon of lying to police about what she knew and when she knew about Nassar’s sexual misconduct with patients.  The two felony and two misdemeanor charges hinged on an interview Simon gave during an internal investigation about Nassar – the former MSU sports doctor convicted of sexually assaulting his patients. 

On July 12, Michigan State Police Sergeant Joseph Cavanaugh testified that he and detective Bill Ardnt did not ask Simon a set of prepared questions about the Nassar case during a May 2018 interview.

At the time, Simon told the officers she knew an MSU physician was under review in 2014, but she didn’t know it was Nassar.

According to reporting from MLive, prosecutors said Paulette Granberry Russell, MSU’s Title IX director at the time of the 2014 complaint, told Simon Nassar's name at a May 2014 meeting based on a name written on a meeting folder.

However in April, Russell repeatedly said she didn’t remember if she spoke to Simon about a 2014 sexual assault complaint against Nassar.

“I don’t have any independent recollection of talking specifically about Larry Nassar,” said Russell.

In January 2018, Simon announced her resignation as MSU president amid growing pressure to step down in the wake of the Nassar scandal. She served as president for 13 years.

In June, Nassar’s former boss and Dean of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel was found guilty of neglect of duty and misconduct in office but acquitted on a more serious criminal sexual conduct charge.

After closing statements on Tuesday, the judge gave the prosecution 28 days to submit their arguments after obtaining court transcripts. The defense has 21 days to submit arguments on behalf of Simon. The prosecution has another two weeks to respond to defense arguments. Judge Reincke will then make her decision.

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