Nassar Attorney Has 'Hard Time' Buying Accusers' Stories

Shannon Smith called 'vile' by victims' attorney for saying number of accusers was 'really extreme'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2018 4:00 PM CST
Shannon Smith, attorney for Larry Nassar, walks out of the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building after Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Dec....   (Mike Clark/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

(Newser) – The dozens of victims who spoke at Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing earlier this month served up scathing rebukes against the ex-USA Gymnastics doctor, who received up to 175 years in prison for his crimes. One person not as moved by their testimony: a Nassar defense attorney, who said during a Thursday radio interview that his case had "spun out of control" in the media. "There were girls who had perfectly normal lives that never questioned the medical treatment done by Larry Nassar—and there is a legitimate medical treatment that involves touching sensitive areas and even penetrations," Shannon Smith said to WWJ Newsradio 950. Smith added that girls who'd never been previously victimized may have picked up on reporting about Nassar and felt they, too, had been victimized. She also praised Nassar's medical skills and said he "comes off as a really great person" and that "I see good" in him for helping athletes get back to competing.

"I have a very hard time believing that my client could have even possibly assaulted that many people day in and day out in front of their parents," she said, adding it's "really sad" when accusers were "fine" their whole lives and suddenly "realized" they'd been abused. An attorney for some of the victims calls Smith's statements "vile," and even Nassar himself "distanced himself" from them, per NBC News. "I am sorry about this distraction at a time when the attention should be on the statements of these victims," he said in a statement issued by another attorney. In a call later Thursday, Smith told ESPN she doesn't deny Nassar's guilt in some cases, but that the number of accusers was "really extreme." She says she's received death threats for representing Nassar as his lawyer and added "chaperones" should be in the room when doctors see patients to protect both parties. (Read more Larry Nassar stories.)

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