Breaking: Following Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing, Justice Department To Review Earlier Decision To Decline Prosecution Of FBI Agents Who Mishandled The Nassar Case

WASHINGTON – During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in today’s hearing “Renewing and Strengthening the Violence Against Women Act,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told Chair Durbin that newly confirmed Assistant AG for the Criminal Division, Kenneth Polite, Jr, has opened a review of the Justice Department’s earlier decision to decline prosecution of the agents who committed misconduct in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case.  This announcement comes three weeks after Durbin chaired a hearing examining the FBI's handling of the Nassar investigation—which Durbin described as an “egregious failure...enabled by systematic organizational failures.”

“The American people want child predators – like Larry Nassar – and anyone who aids in their crimes held accountable,” said Durbin during today’s hearing.  “Many people, including myself, my colleagues, and the gymnasts who testified expressed shock and dissatisfaction with the Department’s decision to decline prosecution of the FBI agents who not only mishandled the Nassar investigation, but clearly lied to the Inspector General’s office…and yet, the decision not to prosecute is one which most of us clearly don’t understand.  What is your response to the criticism over the Department’s decision not to prosecute these FBI agents?”

“I can inform the Committee today that the recently confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light,” said Monaco.  “In light of that review, I think you will understand Mr. Chairman that I am constrained in what more I can say about it.  But I do want the Committee, and frankly, I want the survivors to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and believe that this deserves a thorough and full review.”

On September 15, the Committee held a hearing entitled “Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation” featuring testimony from Olympic and World Champion gymnasts and Nassar survivors Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman.  The Justice Department declined the Committee’s invitation to testify.  Following that hearing, Chair Durbin called for accountability for what he called a “systemic failure.”

“The hearing raised critically important questions about why the Justice Department did not do more to hold the two lying FBI agents accountable,” said Durbin. “The Department must answer for this: to the committee, to the gymnasts and to sexual abuse survivors everywhere.”

Video of Monaco’s announcement in Committee is available here.