Nassar appeal to remove judge from case denied

Michigan
rosemarie aquilina ap

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — An Ingham County judge has ruled Judge Rosmarie Aquilina will remain on the Larry Nassar case after his attorneys made an appeal to remove her.

Ingham County Circuit Court Chief Judge Richard Garcia issued his ruling on Tuesday, saying Aquilina “is the only one who should properly render any re-sentence.” The appeal was sent to Garcia after Aquilina said she wouldn’t disqualify herself from the case on Aug. 3.

>>PDF: Garcia ruling’s on Nassar motion to disqualify Aquilina

Nassar’s attorneys accused her of bias during the seven-day hearing in January when over 150 victims spoke and alleged she used the proceedings to “advance her own agenda” and turned them into “group therapy for victims.”

His attorneys argued that Aquilina decided to impose the maximum term before the sentencing hearing began, and that the judge gave people “free reign to denigrate the defendant” during the hearing.

At sentencing, Aquilina said Nassar deserved cruel punishment if the Constitution would allow it .

However, Garcia says Aquilina’s statements “do not constitute impermissible bias” and sentencing is the time for comments against the behavior recounted before the judge and “the language of punishment need not be nice.”

He added that Nassar apparently wants to be resentenced by a judge “who is ambivalent about the suffering of his victims,” and that “standard would disqualify any judge with a pulse.”

Nassar was given a 60-year federal sentence for possessing child pornography, and was also sentenced to up to 175 years in state prison for molesting young athletes. Prior to the sentencing, Nassar agreed to a 25- to 40-year minimum term.

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