The Attorney General’s office says former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon lied to law enforcement to protect the university.
Simon was in court Tuesday for the start of her preliminary examination. There are several more days of testimony and arguments, which are scheduled for April. At the conclusion, the hearing a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to send Simon to trial for multiple charges, including two felonies, for lying or misleading law enforcement.
Only one witness testified during the first day of Simon’s preliminary hearing. Nassar survivor, Amanda Thomashow.
“I mean, when you’ve been sexually assaulted by a doctor that you trust and is the hero of the community that you live in, what do you do because what else is he capable of?” Thomashow said, recounting her experiences with Nassar.
Special prosecutors for the Attorney General’s office say Simon lied about her knowledge of a 2014 Title IX investigation by the university into Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for decades. That investigation was the result of a report filed by Thomashow.
Assistant Attorney General Scott Teter is one of the attorneys prosecuting Simon. He said Simon is linked to MSU and its reputation. He said they have an unbreakable bond.
“The defendant dedicated her entire career, and her entire life to MSU,” Teter said. “There’s not dispute about that. Her job and her mission has been to protect MSU.”
But Simon’s attorneys said the real liars are law enforcement. Though he wouldn’t go into details, after the hearing Mayer Morganroth said through the testimony of witnesses to come, he and co-counsel Lee Silver would show that law enforcement is lying.
“Now it’s up to them to play games and lie,” Morganroth said during opening statements. “They’re the liars. And it’s outrageous what they lie about.”
During the upcoming hearing days, the prosecution will likely continue to try to admit evidence that Simon’s attorneys say is an effort to prejudice the court and make the case about what MSU did wrong, not Simon.
“It’s just…more crap you throw against the wall, the more something might stick,” Morganroth said after Tuesday’s hearing.
But Attorney General spokesman Dan Olsen denied the allegation and said their plan is, “to just go where the facts take us and make sure that we’re committed to the truth.”