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DOJ will revisit decision not to charge FBI agents in failed Nassar case

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Justice Department is now checking its own work in the case of Larry Nassar. Elite gymnasts last month accused the Justice Department and the FBI of failing to follow up on what they knew about abuse by the gymnastics doctor. Now federal investigators are taking a second look. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says the young women abused by Larry Nassar deserve better than they got from the FBI and the Justice Department.

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LISA MONACO: I am deeply sorry that, in this case, the victims did not receive the response or the protection that they deserved.

JOHNSON: The inspector general documented what Monaco called an inexcusable lack of urgency and care for those survivors of sexual assault. That watchdog also said he believed two former agents from the FBI's office in Indianapolis lied and covered up their failures. But the Justice Department declined to prosecute them. Monaco said she understood why lawmakers and victims were frustrated by that decision. Then she shared some news with the Senate Judiciary Committee - the investigation isn't over.

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MONACO: 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.

JOHNSON: Monaco declined to elaborate on the new information. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas told Monaco he was skeptical.

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JOHN CORNYN: Isn't it likely that any criminal charges for lying to the FBI would be barred by the statute of limitations?

MONACO: Senator Cornyn, I really don't want to get into the specifics about what legal theories could be pursued, what evidence may be pursued.

CORNYN: Oh, I'm asking about the statute of limitations.

JOHNSON: The inspector general report shows the clock has not run out on a possible prosecution for those alleged false statements because they happened less than five years ago. It's not clear what other legal avenues the Justice Department may be pursuing or whether USA Gymnastics or the Olympic Committee are part of the review. A lawyer for one of the FBI agents didn't return messages. That senior agent retired from the bureau in 2018. The FBI fired the other agent involved in the Nassar affair last month.

Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.