Larry Nassar accuses judge of running a ‘media circus’
Serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar accused the judge presiding over his case of conducting a “four-day sentencing media circus” for her own benefit, according to a letter read aloud in court Thursday.
“She wants me to sit in the witness box next to her for all four days so the media cameras will be directed toward her,” Nassar wrote in the letter, according to the reading by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.
After reading parts of the letter, the judge defended her role in conducting the victim impact statements.
Nassar, the former renowned doctor for USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan. As part of his sentencing, about 100 victims in all are expected to speak in court about his abuse and the impact it has had on their lives.
As of Thursday morning, just over 50 victims had spoken already, often in personal and powerful terms.
Nassar told Aquilina that the letter was “cathartic” and was written prior to appearing in court.
“When I wrote that, it was before I came here, OK. It was a stress — as it says at the end, it was like a cathartic, you know what I mean, it was just a — it was meant for a cry for community mental health,” he said.
In the letter, Nassar said he was worried about his own mental state and his ability to handle the continued victim impact statements.
“I’m very concerned about my ability to be able to face witnesses this next four days mentally,” he wrote in the letter.
Nassar wrote that he passed out twice on the morning of his federal sentencing.
“Aquilina said if I pass out she’ll have the EMTs revive me and then prop me up in the witness box,” Nassar wrote, according to Aquilina.
The judge said Nassar’s letter was “mumbo-jumbo” and delusional.
“This isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. There’s no truth in here. It’s delusional,” she said.
“You need to talk about these issues with a therapist. Contrary to CNN’s headline, I’m not a therapist,” she said, referring to an article describing her empathetic demeanor toward the victims as they gave their statements.
Separately on Thursday, a victim impact statement from McKayla Maroney was read aloud in court. Maroney is one of several members of gold medal-winning USA Gymnastics teams who have said they were abused by Nassar.