Larry Nassar's attorney makes outrageous claim about accusers
Shannon Smith, the defense attorney for Larry Nassar, made an outrageous claim about Nassar's accusers in an interview with a Detroit radio station.
Nassar, 54, is the disgraced former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor who was recently sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges and an additional 40 to 175 years in state prison on sexual harassment charges.
The number of accusers that Nassar, who is set to spend the rest of his life behind bars, now has is up to 265. Many of his accusers are gymnasts, including Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Simone Biles.
A total of 156 women, many of whom are gymnasts, delivered impact statements during a seven-day sentencing hearing in Ingham County, Michigan in January before Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in state prison.
Several more women have delivered impact statements in another Michigan courtroom in Eaton County this week to start off what is set to be another lengthy sentencing hearing.
What Smith had to say about Nassar's accusers in an interview with Detroit radio station WWJ Newsradio 950 has caused an outrage, and rightfully so.
But let's not forget about who we're talking about here.
Smith is the same woman who objected when Bailey Lorencen criticized her for representing Nassar during her impact statement. (start video at 1:25)
Smith also objected when Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault in an article in the Indianapolis Star back in 2016, called her out in her impact statement for previously asking her if she was only publicly accusing Nassar of sexual assault for money. (start video at 24:30)
Here is what Smith had to say about Nassar's accusers, according to CBS Detroit.
“There were girls who had perfectly normal lives that never questioned the medical treatment done by Larry Nassar — and there is a legitimate medical treatment that involves touching sensitive areas and even penetrations. Some of those girls, to be quite frank, they didn’t even know what to think because they never felt victimized. He was never inappropriate to them. And because of everything they’ve seen, they just feel like they must have been victimized. And I think that’s really unfortunate.
"I have a very hard time believing that my client could have even possibly assaulted that many people day in and day out in front of their parents, and that every single one of those things was a crime, but he was such a manipulator he got away with it. I just can’t imagine that’s true. As much as they were allowed to speak at sentencing, and that was something we agreed to, even during the sentencing, more and more people were coming forward thinking ‘I was fine my whole life and now all of a sudden I have realized I was a survivor.’ I think that’s really sad.
You can read her full statement here.
What Smith is essentially saying is that some of Nassar's accusers are fabricating their stories, and she is basing it on the fact that there are so many accusers. She is seeing the total number of accusers as simply a statistic and is not seeing the accusers as the individuals that they are and that they have shown themselves to be repeatedly, most notably in their recent impact statements.
As if Smith didn't look bad enough already for these outrageous claims about the accusers, Nassar himself disavowed them -- them meaning her claims, not the accusers.
Here is what he had to say, according to NBC News.
"As I have repeatedly said under oath, the plea agreements are accurate and I have, through my lawyers, asked that the court follow them. I have heard each and every impact statement made by the victims in my cases. Their words have been meaningful, they have pierced my soul and I will carry their words with me for the rest of my life. I am sorry about this distraction at a time when the attention should be on the statements of these victims."
When the criminal you're defending apologizes on your behalf for being a distraction, you know you've taken a wrong turn. In Smith's case, she has taken several.