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Child pornography possession can't be used as evidence against Larry Nassar

larry nassar in court
Kate Wells
Michigan Radio
Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis at a previous hearing. Larry Nassar sits next to one of his defense attorneys, Matt Newburg.

State prosecutors can’t use Larry Nassar’s child pornography possession as evidence in his upcoming sexual assault trial.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina says if jurors are presented with Nassar’s federal conviction for possessing thousands of images of child pornography, they’d automatically convict him.

“Should this child pornography come in, it would unfairly prejudice the jury,” Aquilina said Friday at a pretrial hearing. “After the jury heard about these pictures, the sheer number of them, I think the jury would stop listening and simply convict.”

It’s a blow to the prosecution, and the Attorney General’s office says they plan it appeal.

But Judge Aquilina also denied the defense attorney’s request to push the trial date back from December 7.

Nassar’s attorneys argued that because the attorney general’s office just recently gave them tens of thousands of pages of discovery, they can’t adequately defend their client without more time to prepare.

“I’m not delaying the trial,” Judge Aquilina said. “Stay up all night if you will, get some extra help, there is time.”

The defense also lost their request for a change of venue, after arguing it’ll be tough to get an unbiased jury in Ingham County, thanks to the media attention on this case. Nassar’s attorneys may appeal that ruling as well.

Aquilina did allow the prosecution to add six new witnesses, all of them women who say Nassar sexually assaulted them. A few of these new witnesses are Olympic gymnasts, according to the prosecution’s motion, and their stories will help establish Nassar’s alleged pattern of assault: digitally penetrating girls as young as 11, repeatedly, under the guise of treating them for injuries.

Nassar doesn’t wear gloves, the prosecution argues, doesn’t ask for the patients or the parents permission, and often showers them with gifts and other grooming behaviors.  In this case, he's charged with sexually abusing seven young women and girls, and faces up to life in prison. 

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