Judge Who Heard Nassar Case Won't Disqualify Herself as Lawyers Want New Hearing - NBC Bay Area
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Judge Who Heard Nassar Case Won't Disqualify Herself as Lawyers Want New Hearing

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina says some comments may have been "unartful" during the hearing, but she says she wasn't biased

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    Larry Nassar Timeline

    More than 150 women and girls testified in court that disgraced doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 5, 2018)

    A Michigan judge who held an extraordinary hearing before sentencing sports doctor Larry Nassar to prison for sexually assaulting female athletes refused to disqualify herself from the case Friday if higher courts send it back to fix any errors.

    Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said some of her courtroom comments about Nassar last January were "perhaps inartful." But she denied any bias while handling the biggest sexual-assault scandal in sports history.

    "I have not crossed any boundaries. ... Bias? No. Justice? Yes," Aquilina said.

    She sentenced Nassar to at least 40 years in prison after listening to more than 150 victims describe the impact on their lives. Nassar was a doctor at Michigan State University and at USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He's first serving decades for federal child pornography crimes.

    Nassar: Victim Statements Have 'Shaken Me to My Core'

    [NATL] Nassar: Victim Statements Have 'Shaken Me to My Core'

    Former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar issued a statement to his victims at his sentencing. 

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018)

    The hearing Friday was a procedural step in Nassar's bid to be resentenced by another judge. In the months ahead, the case will move up to higher courts.

    Nassar's appellate lawyers noted that Aquilina was extremely outspoken during the sentencing. The judge praised each victim and called Nassar a "monster" who is "going to wither" like the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz."

    At another point, Aquilina said she would allow someone "to do to him what he did to others" if the U.S. Constitution allowed cruel punishment. She said the sentence she imposed was his "death warrant."

    "The appearance of impropriety has been broken at this point," attorney Malika Ramsey-Heath said.

    In July, Aquilina appeared at the ESPY awards in Los Angeles where Nassar's victims were honored. She said she trademarked her name after it started appearing on T-shirts, including one worn by actress Natalie Portman on "Saturday Night Live."

    The judge said she wants to use money from the trademark to create a foundation to help assault victims, including people unrelated to the Nassar case.

    Father of 3 Victims Lunges at Nassar

    [NATL] 'I Want That Son of a B----': Father of 3 Victims Lunges at Nassar

    Randall Margraves, the father of three young women who say they were abused by Larry Nassar, lunged at the ex-doctor during a court appearance on Friday. He was placed in handcuffs and escorted out, after telling the judge "I want that son of a b----." 

    (Published Friday, Feb. 2, 2018)