Father who lunged at Larry Nassar comforted by deputy who pinned him down: ‘I understand’
Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, Mich.) — After an enraged father tried getting vigilante justice by lunging at former Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in a Michigan courtroom Friday morning, he was comforted by one of the sheriff’s deputies who pinned him down and cuffed him.
Randall Margraves was in a raging fit, flat on his stomach while it took three uniformed deputies and one plain-clothes officer to detain him.
“Let me at that son of a b—-,” Margraves shouted in court.
One of the deputies disarmed the father by repeatedly saying: ‘I understand.’
After Margraves shouted, “Give me one minute with that bastard, one of the deputies talked him down, saying, “Relax sir. Take it easy, buddy. Just relax…. I understand. I understand, but stay down.”
After the officers tackled and pinned Margraves down to the courtroom floor, the officers again, asked him to relent and quit resisting once they raised him upright.
“We’re going to let up,” one of the deputies said. “But you’re going to have to let up too.”
Before he was led out of the courtroom, Margraves asked the officers, “What if this happened to you guys?”
The father apologized for his actions but made it clear that he wishes the worst for Nassar.
“I believe in God almighty. I believe in heaven and hell, and I can only hope that when the day comes that Larry Nassar has ended his days on this Earth that he will be escorted to one of the deepest, darkest, hottest pits in hell there is for him and people like him. I hope there’s a lot of pain attached to it because he certainly left a lot of pain on this Earth,” Margraves said at a news conference this evening.
Margraves has three daughters who have now given victim impact statements about how Nassar assaulted them.
After two of his daughter’s delivered statements in court, Margraves at first tried to ask the judge if he could spend time alone with Nassar. When that request was denied, Margraves lunged at him.
“I did not know the content of the impact statements. We went to the podium… in support of the two daughters [who addressed the court today] when I had to hear what was said in those statements and I had to look over at Larry Nassar shaking his head, that’s when I lost control,” Margraves said.
“I feel very remorseful… this cannot be a lawless society, I know that. I lost control but I regained control later in a holding cell,” he said.
Afterward, Margraves was restrained by court security personnel and led out of court.
He was later held in contempt of court. The same judge who was handling Nassar’s case pertaining to sexual assault charges also handled Margraves’ subsequent sentencing hearing, and Margraves was not arrested and will not face any fines.
In a statement from the sheriff’s office, Judge Janice Cunningham declined to sentence him to any jail time.
“I can’t say I understand what it would be like to stand there as father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by somebody sitting in the room,” Cunningham said.
“I don’t disagree that as a parent and the victims that you want people held accountable. I don’t disagree with that. Use the legal system to do it. Use the system of justice that is here. And there will be the proper punishment. But as for the direct contempt of court there is no way this court is going to issue any type of punishment given the circumstances of this case,” she said.
Margraves offered an apology to Cunningham and everyone in the court, which the judge accepted.
“I have the highest and utmost respect for the justice system. I’d like to apologize to everyone in the courtroom and all the officers, they are fine upstanding officers who had to deal with my outburst,” Margraves said in his sentencing hearing.
“I came here to support my daughters, I knew they were going to read a statement, I did not know what was in it, they would not let me see it ahead of time. I’ve got to hear that and have Larry Nassar shaking his head no, like it didn’t happen,” Margraves said.
“I lost control, I apologize 100 times,” he added.
Hours earlier, a dramatic scene unfolded after two of Margraves’ daughters spoke at Nassar’s sentencing hearing.
“I’m asking you as part of the sentencing to grant me five minutes alone in a locked room with this demon,” Margraves told Cunningham.
Cunningham said that she would not do that, so Margraves asked again, this time for just one minute alone with Nassar. Cunningham reiterated that the answer was no. Margraves then charged toward Nassar in the courtroom.
Police apprehended Margraves and escorted him out of the room.
“Let me get that son of a b—-,” Margraves could be heard saying.
There were audible cries in the courtroom as Margraves was pinned to the ground by police.
“Give me one minute with that b——,” Margraves said. “One minute.”
Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, the lead prosecutor in this case, was heard warning the rest of the gallery not to follow Margraves’ lead.
“You cannot behave like this,” Povilaitis said.
Attorney Mick Grewal, who represents the three Margrave daughters, said in a statement that “when this occurred I of course represented their father as I could see this was an emotional response to what occurred in court.”
“They are family that is there for each other. He is a father supporting his daughters,” Grewal said.
“Hopefully the eyes of the world are watching and can feel the pain each survivor and their family is going through. All they want is justice, transparency and accountability for everyone that enabled Larry Nassar,” he added.
Nassar was sentenced last month to up to 175 years in prison for multiple counts of criminal sexual misconduct.
Margraves’ third daughter, Morgan Margraves, spoke during Nassar’s prior sentencing in Ingham County Circuit Court.
Randall Margraves’ exchange with the judge began as she thanked his daughters for speaking.
“Judge, would a pissed-off father have a chance to say something?” he asked Cunningham.
“You son of a b—-,” Margraves said, looking directly at Nassar.
The judge cut him off, admonishing him over his choice of language.
“We don’t want to swear, we don’t want to have profanity. I can’t imagine the anger, and the anxiety and the feeling of wanting retribution and if you need to say something to help you I’m more than willing to let you say something, but in a courtroom we don’t use profanity. But if you have some words that you would like to say, I would like to give you the opportunity to say them,” Cunningham said.
Margraves then asked for the time alone with Nassar.
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