Senator calls for another hearing into FBI’s handling of Larry Nassar probe

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Senator calls for another hearing into FBI's handling of Larry Nassar probe

A Connecticut lawmaker on Wednesday called for another hearing into the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation — after USA gymnasts testified that agents turned a blind eye to the former team doctor’s sexual abuse of them and hundreds of other women.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said the Department of Justice needs to answer why no criminal charges were brought against the FBI agents who allegedly failed to properly investigate the case.

“The FBI became an enabler rather than an enforcer. The FBI became part of the problem, not the solution,” Blumenthal said at a press conference following the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“I have strongly called for continuing criminal investigation, if necessary, under new jurisdictional issues, because I think justice will be done only if there is accountability here.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the Department of Justice needs to answer why no criminal charges were brought against the FBI agents who allegedly failed to properly investigate the case.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Blumenthal also slammed the DOJ for failing to appear at Wednesday’s hearing, where gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman gave heart-wrenching testimony about the lasting toll of Nassar’s abuse and the system that allowed it to happen.

“The Department of Justice today was a no-show. The Department of Justice failed to appear. They have responsibility ultimately for the FBI, for the prosecutions, and for action here,” Blumenthal said.

The senator and others on the Judiciary Committee had sought the appearance of Attorney General Merrick Garland or Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, but neither showed.

Larry Nassar
Larry Nassar is currently serving a decades-long prison sentence after he was charged in 2016 with federal child pornography and sexual abuse offenses and found guilty in 2017 during three separate trials.
Lansing State Journal via AP

Blumenthal said the DOJ hasn’t “run out of action” in terms of accountability measures it can take.

“So I am by no means satisfied with what I heard today,” he said.

During the hearing, Blumenthal grilled FBI Director Christopher Wray on why the agency hasn’t encouraged criminal prosecution of the agents who allegedly bungled the probe.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation on Sept. 15, 2021.
Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

“If I were in your shoes, I would be walking across the street to the attorney general of the United States, and I would be saying, ‘You need to prosecute.’ Why aren’t you doing that?,” he asked.

“I don’t want to get into my discussions with the attorney general,” Wray replied. “I have a lot of respect for him and for the privacy of our conversations. I will say that in this particular instance, the case agents responsible for the investigation, as is appropriate, were the inspector general’s offices’ agents.”

A Justice Department inspector general report released in July said the FBI made fundamental errors in the investigation and did not treat the allegations against Nassar with the “utmost seriousness” they deserved.

United States gymnasts from left, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, leave after testifying at a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.
Gymnasts from left, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, leave after testifying at a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.
Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

Wray said that a supervisory FBI agent who had failed to properly look into the Nassar case — and later lied about it — was fired by the agency early last week.

Wray said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry” for delays in Nassar’s prosecution — and vowed to the victims he would “make damn sure everybody at the FBI remembers what happened here” and that it never occurs again.

With Post wires

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