EATON COUNTY, Mich. (FOX 2) - Lou Anna Simon, the former president of Michigan State University, was back in court Tuesday to continue her pre-trial hearing in the felony charges she faces connected to the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.
Simon is accused of lying to police during the criminal investigation into Nassar. The 71-year-old is facing four charges, two of which are felonies. The other two are misdemeanors.
According to the Eaton County Prosecutor's Office, Simon told police she was not aware of allegations against the disgraced gymnastics doctor. But police claim there is documented proof she knew about his behavior back in 2014.
Tuesday was the fifth day of preliminary hearings for Simon and the Eaton County Prosecutor maintains that Simon said she didn't know anything until 2016, but claims that's not true.
Simon is charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of making false statements. She's accused of telling Michigna State Police last May that she only knew that a complaint had been filed against a sports doctor back in 2014. MSP Detective Sgt. William Arndt testified she said she didn't even know the nature of the ivnestigation.
"The only thing she referred to was she was aware (was it involved) a sports medicine doc - but not the nature and substance of the investigation," Arndt testified.
But prosecutors say she discussed the case with the school's Title IX investigator and even had a meeting about it. Police have a copy of the meeting agenda and a note reading "COM" - for College of Osteopathic Medicine. They also have a folder with Nassar's name on it with "SA" written next to it - for sexual assault.
Tuesday, Simon's testimony before a Senate panel in Washington in June of 2018 was revisited when she said she would have taken immediate action.
Simon told the Senate she had received an email from the school's Title IX office but Arndt testified she never told him that.
Simon's defense argues that Simon only knew there was a sports doctor that was under investigation - not specifically Nassar. They add that Simon was cooperative and voluntarily went in for questioning. Arndt testified it was not believed at the time that she was lying.
The defense is also asking why Simon was never told police had been conducting a criminal investigation.
"I can't answer that. it was just an oversight," Arndt said.
After reviewing documents on meetings between Simon and the Title IX coordinator, Judge Julie Reincke ruled there was significant evidence.
"They provide probable cause that Dr. Simon knew what was going on," Reincke said.
However, Reincke stopped short of making a decision if the case can move forward. Simon's preliminary hearing will continue but a date has not yet been set.