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MSU claims privilege for thousands of documents in investigation

Beatriz Pérez Moya

The state Attorney General wants a judge to review every document Michigan State University says is protected by attorney-client privilege. This is part of an ongoing investigation by a special prosecutor into the university.

The investigation involves how Michigan State University handled former MSU sports doctor, Larry Nassar. Nassar will spend decades in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

The university put together a so-called “privilege log” that lists every document it says is protected by attorney-client privilege. 

Bob Young is general counsel for Michigan State. He says he is happy with the decision because it protects the school’s privilege.

“It will absolutely put an end to the AG’s suggestion that we are hiding something from them,” he says.

The AG’s office says it believes MSU is not properly applying attorney-client privilege.

Christina Grossi is with the Attorney General’s office. She says a judge needs to review every document MSU says is privileged.

“At the end of the day, unless someone sits down and reads those emails there will never be able to be an independent determination of whether or not it’s a proper assertion of the privilege,” she says.

MSU says it’s still reviewing its log of privileged documents. It says some might come off the list and others might be added.

But a judge says the final log needs to be done soon. Then, he will review every privileged document and make a final determination if the AG’s office can see it.





Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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