Larry Nassar calls out Judge Aquilina, says he was attacked in prison

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Larry Nassar’s attorneys say the disgraced former sports doctor was assaulted within hours of being placed in the general population at the federal prison in Arizona where he is serving a 60-year sentence for child pornography possession.

In motions filed Tuesday seeking to have the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor resentenced in the first of two cases in which he pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls who sought treatment, lawyers Jacqueline McCann and Malaika Ramsey-Heath partly blamed the May prison attack on the rhetoric of the judge during that sentencing hearing.

During the seven-day sentencing in January at which at least 169 women and girls provided statements, Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina described Nassar as a “monster” who is “going to wither” like the wicked witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”

She said she would allow someone “to do to him what he did to others” if the Constitution allowed, and she told Nassar she was signing his “death warrant” with the sentence she was giving him.

Nassar, 54, will likely never get out of prison. Once his 60-year federal term for child porn possession ends, he would begin serving the 40- to 175-year sentence in state prison that Aquilina gave him for the sexual assaults.

In their filing, Nassar’s court-appointed appellate attorneys did not specify the nature or severity of the attack at the prison in Tucson, Arizona. But they accused Aquilina of using the nationally televised proceedings to “advance her own agenda” — advocating for policy initiatives and broader cultural change — and improperly agreeing to media interviews during the appeal period.

They also accused her of not stopping victims from denigrating Nassar’s defense lawyers and allowing the proceedings to devolve into a “free-for-all” in which victims wished physical harm upon Nassar and accused other uncharged individuals with wrongdoing and crimes, as others in the courtroom called out in support.

The lawyers wrote that it was no surprise that one victim’s father tried to attack Nassar at the sentencing hearing in his second molestation case in nearby Eaton County — where he was given a 40- to 125-year prison term — or that Nassar was assaulted in prison.

“Unfortunately, Judge Aquilina’s comments and conducting of the sentencing proceeding appeared to encourage this type of behavior,” they wrote.

They said Nassar should be resentenced because Aquilina was neither unbiased nor impartial, arguing that while his plea deal called for a minimum of between 25 and 40 years, she clearly only considered a 40-year minimum.

McCann and Ramsey-Heath also argued that there is no authority in Michigan law for her decision to start Nassar’s sentence after his federal term instead of ordering them to run concurrently.

Aquilina declined to comment on the motions, which she is expected to consider at hearings in August.

Aquilina was widely praised for her treatment of the “sister survivors” and their parents at the sentencing proceeding, but some legal observers said at the time that her pointed comments could be grounds for an appeal.

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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