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Larry Nassar Appeal Claims Child Porn Sentence Is 'Draconian'

The former USA Gymnastics team doctor argues that punishments for his federal child pornography conviction violate constitutional protections.

Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics team doctor now serving time for child sexual abuse, argues that his punishment for a federal child pornography conviction is “draconian” and should be thrown out.

Nassar, in a 15-page handwritten appeal filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, contended his convictions for receiving and possessing child pornography violate constitutional protections against double jeopardy. He also argued that lifetime bans preventing him from having electronic devices are too broad.

“A person cannot be convicted for both receipt and possession of the same items of child pornography,” the former athletic trainer wrote, according to MLive.com. The appeal, dated Aug. 20, became public this week after it was published by multiple local outlets.

Nassar argued that his 60-year child pornography sentence is so broad that it violates his First Amendment rights with lifetime bans on access to or possession of electronic devices including computers, and contact with minors without approval from a probation officer in areas where children congregate. 

“These stated bans sweep too broadly,” Nassar wrote. “They are the antithesis of the required narrowly tailored sanctions required for conditions of supervised release.” 

Nassar signed a plea deal in July 2017 and pleaded guilty to three federal charges of possession of child pornography. A year earlier, police found videos and child pornography images in Nassar’s home, and said he also attempted to destroy hard drives containing child pornography.

Nassar also is serving three concurrent life sentences for sexual abuse. He’s accused of serially sexually abusing over 500 athletes (nearly all of whom were young women) under the guise of medical treatment during his 30-year tenure as a famed sports physician for USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and Twistars, a gym in East Lansing, Michigan.

Nassar also has filed appeals to his child sexual abuse convictions.

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