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Powered by article titled “Father of Larry Nassar victims lunges at disgraced doctor in court” was written by Guardian sport, for The Guardian on Friday 2nd February 2018 18.07 UTC

The judge in the gymnastics sexual abuse case said on Friday there is “no way” she will punish the father of three girls who were his victims, after the man tried to attack the former US gymnastics team doctor in court on Friday.

Randall Margrave, the father of three daughters sexually abused by disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar, was nevertheless told by the judge that his actions were wrong, and Margrave apologized at Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Michigan.

On Friday morning, after two of Margraves’ daughters had just given evidence, the father asked Judge Janice Cunningham for time alone with the former doctor.

“I would ask you as part of the sentencing to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon,” said Margraves, who has a third daughter said also to have been abused while under Nassar’s care.

When the judge declined, Margraves shook his head at Nassar and called him a “son of a bitch”. As some in the courtroom laughed, the judge warned Margraves about his language. He then lunged at the doctor.

Bailiffs quickly wrestled Margraves to the ground, knocking objects off a desk in the struggle. Nassar was subsequently led out the room, while crying was heard in the courtroom.

As officers removed Margraves, he repeatedly demanded “one minute!” and asked: “What if this happened to you guys?”

A few hours later, Margraves apologized for his behavior. Cunningham then responded that there was “no way” she would punish him for his rush on Nassar.

She added that a punishment isn’t appropriate based on the crimes committed by Nassar and the anguish felt by families. But she also told those attending it is wrong to “combat assault with assault”.

Nassar had already been sentenced to up to 175 years in jail at a separate hearing last week, and to 60 years for possession of child abuse images in 2017. This week’s hearing focused on Nassar’s conduct at the Twistars gymnastics club in Michigan.

More than 30 victims have given statements so far. During the hearing which ended last week, more than 150 girls and women came forward to say Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment.

On Friday, a doctor who specializes in gynecology told the court that Nassar molested her at age 11 at a camp for elite gymnasts.

Brittney Schumann said she had chosen to identify herself because she couldn’t be an advocate for women’s health by staying anonymous. She told Nassar, a former sports doctor, that he was a “disgrace” to the medical profession.

After Margraves was removed, the lead prosecutor, Angela Povilaitis, told the public gallery: “I understand Mr Margraves’ frustration, but you cannot do this.” She urged families to “use your words”.

“This is letting him have this power over us,” she said. “We cannot behave like this. I understand this is a remarkable situation. But you cannot do this. This is not helping your children. This is not helping your community. This is not helping us.”

The judge said that although she could not imagine Margraves’ pain, “we cannot react by using physical violence”.

Margraves later apologized, telling the judge, “I lost control. I apologize 100 times.”

On Thursday, one of Nassar’s attorneys, Shannon Smith, cast doubt on the number of athletes her client is alleged to have abused. Cunningham opened Friday’s session by describing Smith’s comments as “unfortunate”. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Kremlin “pleased” with Helsinki summit, US and Western intelligence assesses



CNN Reports:

Russian officials were “pleased” with the Helsinki summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, US and Western intelligence agencies have found, according to two intelligence sources with knowledge of the assessments.

The assessments, based on a broad range of intelligence, indicate that the Kremlin believes the July 16 summit delivered a better outcome than it had expected, but that Moscow is perplexed that Trump is not delivering more Russia-friendly policies in its aftermath.

The intelligence sources say the Russians were particularly satisfied with the press conference the two leaders gave in Helsinki after Trump and Putin met for about two hours without staff and accompanied only by translators. In the 45-minute press conference, Trump discredited US intelligence and American policies more broadly, saying “the United States has been foolish” about ties with Russia, a country that has engaged in ongoing attacks on US democracy.

A spokesperson for the Office of Director of National Intelligence declined to comment, and the White House did not respond to request for comment.

The administration’s decision last week to impose sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter left Russian officials puzzled that the President is not delivering more favorable policies.

Trump has repeatedly called for warmer relations with Moscow, but the Kremlin is neglecting to factor in the considerable role that Congress and others play in US policy-making, a Western intelligence official said.

Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov’s comments last week reflected the deflated Russian hopes for improved ties with Washington or at least less punitive US policies.

“President Putin said in Helsinki that Russia still has hopes for the creation of a constructive relationship with Washington…We are sorry that often we are not met with cooperation on this account,” Peskov said Aug. 9 in a regular press call with reporters.

Peskov’s comments contrasted sharply with the evaluation Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered immediately after the summit, when he said that the talks had been “better than super.”

Trump’s performance in Helsinki sparked unusually public criticism, even from within his own party.

The administration’s decision to impose the sanctions followed a July 26 letter from GOP Congressman Ed Royce, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, urging the White House to comply with a law requiring the US to levy sanctions against countries that violate the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act.

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