MSU's Nassar legal bills approach $5 million

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - Michigan State University has paid out more than $4.5 million in legal expenses over the Larry Nassar scandal in less than a year.

The records, obtained by WXYZ through a public records request, show that the university is relying on incredibly costly attorneys as it navigates the largest institutional sexual assault scandal in modern history.

Lead attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is a partner for the Chicago-based law firm Skadden Arps, one of the firms retained by MSU. Previously, he was a U.S. Attorney in Illinois that made his name prosecuting crooked politicians, drug king pins and sex traffickers.

MSU Trustee Dan Kelly said at a public meeting last month that Fitzgerald is "what I believe to be one of the most ethical attorneys" in the country.

He's also one of the most costly. Fitzgerald and two of his partners are charging MSU $990/hr. In less than a year, Skadden Arps billed MSU nearly $4.1 million.


The Detroit-based firm Miller Canfield was brought on by MSU starting in January 2017. So far, bills submitted to the university total  $433,739.  Through September, the two firms have charged the university $4,532,317.

That number will only get much larger as cases against MSU near trial, and more plaintiffs join in.

At Penn State, where the Jerry Sandusky scandal had only about a quarter the number of accusers, the school shelled out more than $240 million for attorney fees, fines and settlements.  The Nassar scandal is expected to dwarf that. 

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at or at (248) 827-9466.

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