The FBI has contacted lawyers for Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and other women who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar to begin settlement talks in the $1 billion claim they filed against the federal government, according to three known people. with the case.
The FBI’s general counsel reached out to lawyers for Olympic gold medalists Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and dozens of other women on Wednesday. The FBI’s attorneys told the women’s lawyers that they had received the legal claims and that the agency was “interested” in a resolution, including discussions of a possible settlement, the people said.
The people were unable to publicly discuss the details of the negotiations and spoke to The The Bharat Express News on condition of anonymity.
John Manly, a lawyer representing more than 90 victims, declined to comment when the TBEN contacted him earlier Thursday. The settlement talks were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The victims had filed a claim against the FBI for failing to stop the sports doctor when the agency first received allegations against him. FBI agents knew in 2015 that Nassar was accused of assaulting gymnasts, but they did nothing, leaving him free to continue targeting young women and girls for more than a year. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and has spent decades in prison.
Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics told local agents in 2015 that three gymnasts said they had been attacked by Nassar, a team doctor. But the FBI did not open a formal investigation or inform federal or state authorities in Michigan, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general. Los Angeles officers launched a sexual tourism investigation against Nassar in 2016, interviewing several victims, but did not alert Michigan authorities, the inspector general said.
Nassar was only arrested in the fall of 2016 during a police investigation at Michigan State University, where he was a doctor. The Michigan Attorney General’s office eventually settled the charges against Nassar, while federal prosecutors in Grand Rapids, Michigan filed a child pornography case.
The Justice Department said in May it would not bring criminal charges against former officers accused of giving incorrect or incomplete answers during the Inspector General’s investigation. At the time, justice officials said they “stood their previous decision not to file a federal criminal charge” after a “careful reassessment of evidence.”
The opening of the settlement talks comes as senior Justice Department officials, including Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, who heads the department’s criminal division, met with members of Congress on Thursday to discuss the matter, according to the report. two of the people. During that meeting with several senators, Polite and others presented proposals to change the law to address what officials see as gaps in the statute that had prevented prosecution, the people said.
Politely wouldn’t give lawmakers the underlying evidence they asked for, one of the people said.
The people were unable to publicly discuss the details of the closed meeting and spoke to the TBEN on condition of anonymity.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has admitted major mistakes, saying what happened was “unforgivable.” The FBI later fired the supervising special agent who interviewed Maroney in 2015. The Justice Department’s inspector general had criticized that agent and his former boss — the agent in charge of the Indianapolis office — for their handling of the charges.
“I am especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster in 2015 and failed, and that is unforgivable,” Wray said at a congressional hearing in September 2021. “It should never have happened. happen and we’re doing everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”