Former MSU president Simon to stand trial for lying to police in Nassar investigation

Nassar Coverage

EATON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon will stand trial on charges of lying to police in their investigation into the school’s handling of the Larry Nassar case.

Judge Julie Reincke’s decision was announced Monday afternoon. In the written decision, she said she found there was probable cause that Simon lied to police when she said she did not know about Nassar specifically in 2014.

Simon is charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in the case. Police say Simon was lying when she was asked if she knew of any investigation involving Nassar prior to the story breaking in 2016.

Simon’s response to that question was “I was aware that in 2014 there was a sports medicine doc who was subject to a review. But i was not aware of any of the substance of that review, the nature of the complaint that was all learned in ’16 after it became clear in the newspaper.”

Judge Reincke ruled Simon’s knowledge could be inferred by MSU Title IX investigator Kristine Moore and Simon’s former executive assistant Paulette Granberry-Russell’s “treatment of the allegations as an emergency of which defendant needed to be notified. The allegations, the ‘nature of the complaint’ are extraordinary, are ‘shocking’ as Moore stated. They would not be easily forgotten.”

Reincke also said Simon’s reputation for paying attention to detail, supported by testimony of people who worked with her, makes it unlikely to believe Simon would have heard about the allegations and forgotten them.

Simon’s preliminary exam stretched over seven days over the course of several months. During the hearing, both Detectives Bill Arndt and Joseph Cavanaugh, as well as Granberry-Russell took the stand.

>>Day seven recap >>Day six recap>>Day five recap>>Day four recap>>Day three recap>>Day two recap>>Day one recap, including case background

Another issue in the hearing was whether or not Simon was told by Arndt and Cavanaugh that they were conducting a criminal investigation. Arndt and Cavanaugh both testified she was informed; Simon and her attorneys say she was not.

Judge Reincke ruled Arndt and Cavanaugh’s testimony is enough probable cause that she was told about the criminal investigation.

Simon’s attorney, Lee Silver, issued the following statement on Simon being bound over for trial:

“While we respect the District Court’s decision, we are disappointed by the District Court’s ruling in light of the stark lack of evidence to support the charges against Lou Anna Simon. We plan to vigorously defend Dr. Simon and fully expect to prevail in the Circuit Court.”

Silver & Van Essen, P.C.

Attorney General Dana Nessel also released a statement on the decision:

Today’s decision to move forward with trial brings survivors another step closer to receiving the answers they deserve. After months of preliminary examination and thoughtful consideration by Judge Julie Reinke, we are ready to bring the facts to a jury of Ms. Simon’s peers.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Simon resigned as president in the wake of the Nassar case in January 2018. An arrest warrant for her was issued in November 2018.

Simon’s next court date is scheduled for December 12, which is her circuit court arraignment. A status conference is scheduled for December 20.

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