“We have used every legal mechanism available to us — including going to court — to secure the remaining documents needed for our investigation,” Nessel said in a statement. “The University’s refusal to voluntarily provide them closes the last door available to finish our investigation. We’re incredibly disappointed that our work will end this way, especially for the Survivors.”
“The attorney-client privilege only applies to confidential communications by a client to its attorney that are made for the purpose of obtaining legal advice,” Byrum said. “It does not protect against the discovery of facts. Facts are not privileged.”
She also noted that in a 2019 legal proceeding, Judge Richard Ball “reviewed the documents in question and ruled that the university appropriately maintained attorney-client privilege.”
In addition, Byrum affirmed that in the “many” governmental investigations against MSU, the school has always provided the agencies and the Department of Attorney General with the requested facts.
Despite this explanation, Nessel denounced the move and said that “justice doesn’t begin and end at the courthouse doors.”
“Principles of truth, fairness, and equity should be lights that guide all of our public institutions, especially our schools; and, when our universities refuse to lead, they miss the most important way they can teach,” she said.
Army of Survivors, an advocacy group started by survivors of Nassar, said it was “disheartening” that the school wouldn’t turn over the documents to “allow for a comprehensive investigation.”
“It displays their lack of respect for survivors, and the justice and healing they seek,” said founder and president Grace French. “The culture at Michigan State University allowed a perpetrator to thrive for decades, and today indicates that they continue to value their brand over justice. Transparency is a crucial component to making sure that acts like these never happen again, and it’s demoralizing to see that MSU does not act upon their responsibility to safeguard future generations.”