Court rejects Nassar sexual assault appeal

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The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a final appeal from sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting gymnasts, including Olympic medallists.

Attorneys for Nassar said he was treated unfairly in 2018 and deserved a new hearing, based on vengeful remarks by a judge who called him a "monster" who would "wither" in prison like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz.

"I just signed your death warrant," Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said of Nassar's 40-year sentence.

The state Supreme Court said Nassar's appeal was a "close question" and that it had "concerns" over the judge's conduct.

But the court also noted that Aquilina, despite her provocative comments, stuck to the sentencing agreement worked out by lawyers in the case.

"We decline to expend additional judicial resources and further subject the victims in this case to additional trauma where the questions at hand present nothing more than an academic exercise," the court said in a two-page order.

More than 150 victims spoke or submitted statements during an extraordinary seven-day hearing in Aquilina's court more than four years ago.

Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting gymnasts and other athletes with his hands under the guise of medical treatment for hip and leg injuries.

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