Judge uses letter to question doctor's sincerity

By David Eggert
Associated Press

LANSING (AP) — The sentencing of former sports doctor Larry Nassar concluded in dramatic fashion when he apologized to victims only to see a skeptical judge question his sincerity — by reading excerpts from a letter he had recently written to her.

Nassar gave a short statement Wednesday in which he turned toward the women and girls, some of whom were weeping. “There are no words to describe ... how sorry I am,” he said.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina was unimpressed, and read portions from his letter, which she had initially criticized him for last week.

“The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad,” he wrote, according to the judge. “They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. It is just a complete nightmare.”

Victims and others in the courtroom groaned, and the judge incredulously asked Nassar if he wanted to withdraw his November guilty plea to charges that he molested seven girls. “No your honor,” he responded.

“Because you are guilty, aren’t you? Are you guilty sir?” she pressed.

“That’s my plea,” he said.

Aquilina took the letter and tossed it aside in disgust.

“This letter, which comes two months after your plea, tells me you have not yet owned what you did. You still think that somehow you are right, that you are a doctor, that you are entitled, that you don’t have to listen and that you did treatment. I wouldn’t send my dogs to you sir,” she said.

Aquilina first read excerpts of the letter last week, saying Nassar had written that he feared his mental health was not strong enough to sit and listen to a parade of victims. More than 150 women and girls testified or had statements read over the course of the seven-day hearing.

Aquilina reiterated that she would not release the letter, saying she doesn’t want his accusers “revictimized by the words that you have in here.”

Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison.