Provost, former executive assistant testify in Simon hearing


As prosecutors continue to try and prove there’s enough evidence to send former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon to trial, testimony has been adjourned until June.

Tuesday was day four of testimony in the hearing. Simon is accused of lying to police during their investigation into the school’s handling of the Larry Nassar case.

>>>Day three recap

>>>Day two recap

>>>Day one recap, including case background

Most of the morning was spent hearing once again from Simon’s former Senior Advisor, Paulette Granberry Russell. Under cross examination by Simon’s attorneys, Mayer Morganroth and Lee Silver, Granberry Russell reiterated she did not recall telling Simon about Nassar in 2014. She also said she did not ask Simon to get involved in the investigation into Nassar. 

Granberry Russell also testified her typed agenda for a May 19, 2014 meeting and hand-written notes on that same agenda do not mention Nassar by name.

Granberry Russell’s testimony is key to the case, as prosecutors say it’s her notes written on a folder and agenda used in a May 2014 meeting with Simon that prove Simon knew about Nassar that year. Simon had told police she was not aware Nassar specifically was the subject of those allegations prior to 2016.

Simon’s former Executive Staff Assistant, Marti Howe, also took the stand. Howe identified an agenda that was used in the May 19 meeting with Granberry Russell as Simon’s, based on the handwritten notes. On that agenda, next to sexual assault cases, was the abbreviation “COM,” which, at the university, would mean College of Osteopathic Medicine. The agenda and notes did not, however, mention Nassar specifically.

Late in the morning through mid-afternoon, Provost June Youatt took the stand. Youatt testified while she was notified about the 2014 Title IX complaint against Nassar by then-College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel, she said she did not follow up to find out the result of the investigation.

Youatt also said she did not believe she spoke with Simon about Nassar prior to 2016.

There was a large amount of back-and-forth between both sides as to whether or not Youatt and Howe could testify to Simon’s management style. Simon’s attorney, Mike Gutierrez, cited case law that said the testimony was inadmissible.

However, Assistant Attorney General Scott Teter argued the defense opened the door to those questions, when Morganroth said in his opening statement Simon would not involve herself in Office of Institutional Equity or Title IX investigations.

“If she did, she wouldn’t have time for anything else,” transcripts show Morganroth said.

The judge ruled in favor of the prosecution. Both Youatt and Howe testified Simon was an engaged leader and detail-oriented. Howe also said Simon was hands-on where she needed to be.

Testimony resumes June 11. 6 News will be inside the courtroom, and will continue to follow this story.

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