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"We had a lot of knockout blows,” attorney for former MSU president says about hearing

Former MSU President Lou Anna Simon
Image courtesy of MSU
File photo / MSU

A detective looking into claims that former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon lied to police about former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar acknowledged there were key questions that should have been asked during the investigation that weren’t.

Simon sat implacably at the defense table during the questioning. She is trying to avoid going to trial on two felony and two misdemeanor charges that she lied to investigators about what she knew about sexual abuse of young women and girls by Nassar.

That acknowledgement took place during a marathon court session on Friday where Simon’s legal team aggressively went after the handling of the case by the Michigan State Police and the Michigan attorney general’s office.

“Honestly, I thought it could not have gone better from our perspective,” said Lee Silver, who is part of Simon’s legal team. “I thought we had an exceptionally good day. I thought we had a lot of knockout blows.”

Simon’s defense team says the problem isn’t that she lied, or failed to cooperate. The problem, says Silver, is that state police investigators didn’t ask the right questions, or enough questions. And Simon’s attorneys say there’s no evidence she lied about what she knew about Nassar preying on girls and young women.

MSP Sgt. Joseph Cavanagh acknowledged on the stand that the questioning of Simon could have been, and maybe should have been, more pointed.

The defense says Simon was told there might be an issue with a sports medicine doctor who was under review, but was not told specifically who or what was going on.

The hearing is scheduled to resume on July 23.

Learn more about the charges against Simon in this story by Michigan Radio's Kate Wells: Simon lied to cover up MSU's "screwup" in 2014, state tells court.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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