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Defense attorney Matthew Newburg went beyond the call of duty in the case against his client, Dr. Larry Nassar.
Nassar, who was convicted of sexually assaulting young Olympic gymnasts and other girls, has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. As victims gave statements against him, a father of three girls charged at the convicted child molester.
The defense attorney and deputies blocked the attack, sparing Nassar a beating and the father from serious legal troubles. It could have been cause of contempt, but not that day. Not in that courtroom.
Randall Margraves had bided his time in the gallery as victim after victim described their awful circumstances. At one point, Margraves asked the judge if he could have "five minutes in a locked room" with Nassar.
Judge Janice Cunningham declined, so Margraves asked for "one minute." When the judge refused, Margraves lunged like a linebacker at Nassar.
Newburg stood up to block the attempt, as deputies tackled the distraught father and removed him from the courtroom. The judge told Margraves later that his conduct was unacceptable, but she declined to punish him for contempt.
"There is no way that this court is going to issue any type of punishment given the circumstances of this case," she said.
The judge said she couldn't imagine the father's feelings "to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by somebody sitting in a courtroom." Margraves apologized to the court, but his daughters were proud of their father.
In the moments before Margraves lunged at Nassar, the young women looked at their dad through tears and smiled as he asked the judge for "five minutes" alone with their abuser. Countless victims and their families no doubt felt the moment, too.
Nassar has pleaded guilty to molesting nine victims in two counties, and more than 200 accusers have stepped forward with statements against him. He will spend the rest of his life in prison with up to 175 years for the assaults and 60 years for child pornography crimes.
Newburg, in the meantime, is not exactly a hero because people often demonize criminal defense attorneys. But in a fleeting courtroom moment, Newburg probably saved a victim.
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