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Ex-MSU president’s criminal case can go to trial

The criminal case against former president of Michigan State University, Lou Anna Simon, can go forward to trial. A district court judge made the ruling Monday.

Simon is charged with two misdemeanors and two felonies because prosecutors say she lied to law enforcement during its investigation into MSU in the aftermath of Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former sports medicine doctor who pled guilty to sexually assaulting  his patients for decades. 

Judge Julie Reincke says there was enough evidence against Simon for her to face a trial in felony court. In her written opinion, Reincke said, “Considering all of these elements in the light most favorable to the prosecution, I do find probable cause that defendant committed the offenses as charged. It is not my role to decide whether there is proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A big portion of the case revolves around a 2014 complaint that Amanda Thomashow filed against Nassar. Nassar is serving a life-sentence in prison for sexually assaulting his patients for decades. Simon told investigators in 2018 that she didn’t remember the details of that report. Just that there was a “sports medicine doc” who was under review, but she didn’t recall the doctor or what the complaint was about.

In her written opinion, Reincke said quote, “It is not credible to believe that Simon would have heard even the outline of Thomashow’s story and forgotten it.”

The Attorney General’s office is prosecuting the case. Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement, “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.”

Throughout the preliminary exam, which lasted for months, Simon’s attorney maintained her innocence.

Simon’s next scheduled court date is an arraignment in Eaton County Circuit Court on Dec. 12, which she could waive. After that, she is scheduled for a status conference on Dec. 20.