LANSING, MI (WLNS) – No matter his crimes, Larry Nassar had a right to have legal representation in court, but on the day of his sentencing, one of his attorneys revealed that he’s received threats of violence against his family for doing his job.
Nassar, the once well renowned MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor, admitted to sexually abusing young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment in both Ingham and Eaton counties.
In addition to the state cases against him, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison after admitting to possessing child pornography.
More than 150 women and girls made victim impact statements during his seven-day sentencing hearing in Ingham County, which ended Wednesday.
“This court has provided a foundation for our country to watch our judicial system as it’s happening and unfolding,” Attorney Matt Newburg said. “We have a constitution in place, we learn about the constitution when we go to law school.”
Newburg went on to say, “While some may disagree to the way that this case transpired, the conduct of counsel, this is what our constitution permits.”
The statement came right before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced the former doctor to 40 to 175 years in prison for pleading guilty to seven counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct.
“This is not about us, this is not about Larry, this is not about his legal team, this is about the victims that were before the court for the last seven days,” Newburg said. “But I will tell you, the anger and hate that they expounded on the court is something that Larry saw, we all saw and we all heard. “
“As we sat in the court this morning, we [defense counsel] received an email from somebody who is anonymous, that wished death upon our kids; for standing next to the man and upholding the constitution, a document and an oath that we took when we all went to law school.”
Newburg went on to say that he, along with the prosecutor and judge, are just doing their jobs.
Judge Aquilina agreed.
“I agree with your words in regard to no one should blame defense counsel,” she said. “Vigilante crime is not tolerated so I hope that no one will do anything untoward against counsel, their children, their families, their firms, their cars whatever it is, that is crime plus crime solves absolutely nothing.”
Judge Aquilina also asked the court and public to respect the job of Nassar’s attorneys.
“It’s a difficult one, I know, I’ve been in their shoes,” she said. “The sixth amendment does guarantee each defendant the right to counsel, doesn’t matter what the defendant has done. They have the right to counsel.”
However, Aquilina added that the people are also protected by the first amendment, which allows people to have their own opinions.
“It’s also a balancing act between the first amendment, the sixth amendment all with the due process and other counts amendments to the constitution, they’re all valuable in their own way,” she said. “And that’s why we have an organized and just society and that’s why we are here today because this defendant has been brought to justice. Do not make it worse, please.”