Michigan appeals court to review judge's sentencing of Larry Nassar

"Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable," the judge said.
Image: Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina addresses Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor, who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during his sentencing hearing in Lansing
Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina addresses Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor, who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan on Jan. 18, 2018.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

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By Tim Stelloh and Associated Press

The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed Monday to review a judge’s potentially unfair treatment of former Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

In January, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to a maximum of 175 years in prison for molesting seven young girls while saying he was treating them.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina holds a letter written by Larry Nassar during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan on Jan. 18, 2018.Brendan McDermid / Reuters file

During Aquilina's sentencing hearing — which featured days of testimony from 156 of Nassar’s accusers after he accepted a guilty plea — the judge told Nassar that she'd "signed his death warrant."

"You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again," she said, adding, "Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable. I don’t have to add words because you survivors have said all of that and I don’t want to repeat it."

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After Nassar apologized to victims, Aquilina pointed to a six-page letter he’d sent her the week before in which he described himself as a “good doctor" — and a victim of the media and patients he claimed he was trying to help.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,'" Aquilina said, quoting the letter.

She then told Nassar that she didn’t believe his apology.

"I wouldn't send my dogs to you, sir," she said.

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In an interview with NBC's TODAY last month, Aquilina said she handled Nassar’s sentencing fairly.

“I considered in sentencing those seven (victims), but it was important to hear the whole story, to see the picture of his grooming, his control,” she said.

If anyone had wanted to speak on Nassar's behalf, Aquilian added, she would have listened to them, too.

But "he didn’t have anybody," she said.

The appellate court's decision to review Aquilina's sentencing came after rejecting an appeal in a 40-year sentence that a different judge ordered for Nassar.

Also on Monday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation inspired by Nassar. The laws will give judges more flexibility to admit evidence of a defendant's prior commission of a sex assault, stiffen prison terms related to child pornography and expand who can give a victim impact statement at a sentencing under certain circumstances.

The signing follows laws enacted earlier in the year that allow more time for civil lawsuits or criminal charges to be filed in childhood sex abuse cases.