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Larry Nassar has spent thousands in prison but still owes victims nearly $58,000

Larry Nassar, the longtime doctor for USA Gymnastics and convicted sex offender accused of having sexually assaulted hundreds of girls and women, still owes five of his victims nearly $58,000 even as he has had more than $12,000 deposited into his inmate account in federal prison, authorities said.

Prosecutors have asked for “the Bureau of Prisons to turn over any and all funds in Nassar’s inmate trust account … in an amount up to $62,488.52,” according to court documents filed Wednesday on behalf of Andrew Byerly Birge, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 minors in a Michigan court in January 2018, is serving up to 175 years in prison. He is expected to be behind bars for the rest of his life.

Since December 2017, when he was sentenced to 60 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possessing and receiving child sex abuse images, Nassar has paid only $300 in sentencing fees, court records say. He still owes $57,488.52 to five victims and $5,000 more pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, records show.

Representatives of the Bureau of Prisons could not immediately be reached for comment late Wednesday.

According to court records, Nassar has fired multiple attorneys and appears to be representing himself. Three former attorneys said Wednesday that they no longer represent him.

Nassar has spent more than $10,500 while in federal lockup, based on his balance and previous deposits.

Prosecutors requested that a freeze be placed on Nassar’s inmate account, which showed a balance of $2,041.57, according to records.

Court documents provide a thorough record of Nassar’s prison account since his time at a Florida prison, including his having received two government-issued Covid-relief stimulus checks totaling $2,000 this year.

“Nassar has received approximately $12,825 in deposits since February 2018. This total has included a stimulus check for $600 issued in January 2021 and a stimulus check of $1,400 issued in March 2021,” the documents say.

Wednesday’s filings also say: “Since incarceration, Nassar has paid $300, all in the form of the minimum $25.00 quarterly payments. … In other words, Nassar has paid approximately $8.33 toward his criminal monetary penalties per month, despite receiving deposits into his account over this period totaling $12,825.00.”

The victims’ restitution law requires Nassar to pay his victims upon receiving money during his incarceration, records say.

“If a person obligated to provide restitution, or pay a fine, receives substantial resources from any source, including inheritance, settlement or other judgement, during a period of incarceration, such person shall be required to apply the value of such resources to any restitution or fine,” court documents say.

Nassar receives deposits “no less than once per month, from outside third parties via Money Gram or Western Union, typically in the amount of $200 or more,” court records say.

The Washington Post reported that the Bureau of Prisons allows inmates to keep unlimited amounts of money in their accounts and effectively shields much of the money from collection. Nassar’s government-run prison account covers commissary, email and phone expenses, the newspaper reported.

A 119-page report this month by the top watchdog at the Justice Department said the FBI failed to interview victims who accused Nassar of abuse in a timely manner.

USA Gymnastics first took allegations about Nassar to the FBI in July 2015.

“From July 2015, when the allegations were first reported to the FBI, to September 2016, Nassar continued to treat gymnasts at Michigan State University, a high school in Michigan and a gymnastics club in Michigan,” the inspector general’s report said. “Ultimately, the investigations determined that Nassar had engaged in sexual assaults of over 100 victims and possessed thousands of images of child pornography, led to his convictions in federal and state court, and resulted in Nassar being sentenced to incarceration for over 100 years.”

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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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House passes John Lewis voting rights bill, sends measure to Senate for tougher fight

House Democrats on Tuesday passed a sweeping voting rights bill named after Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the late civil rights icon.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was approved 219-212. All Republicans voted against the legislation.

The bill is part of congressional Democrats’ broader campaign to strengthen voting laws at the federal level to fight restrictive voting laws passed in Republican-led states, such as Texas and Georgia. However, it faces steep opposition in the Senate, where Democrats hold a wafer-thin majority.

The House returned from its recess this week to take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a resolution for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget package, which includes funding for much of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. The procedural motion used to pass the multitrillion-dollar resolution paved the way for the House to vote on the voting rights bill, which was re-introduced last week by Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.

The legislation would require states with recent histories of discrimination to get federal “preclearance” to change their voting laws, which directly addresses the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. The ruling gutted the preclearance system in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which civil rights advocates argue was successful in blocking proposed voting restrictions in states and localities with histories of racial discrimination.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement last week that Congress had “not only an ironclad Constitutional mandate, but a moral responsibility” to pass the bill.

Shortly before its passage, Pelosi said on the House floor that the bill would honor Lewis’ legacy.

“We should have the right to vote and shouldn’t be diminished by anyone. It is unpatriotic to undermine the ability of people who have a right to vote, who have access to the polls,” she said. “As John knew, this precious pillar of our democracy is under attack from one of the worst voter suppression campaigns since Jim Crow.”

It isn’t the first time House Democrats have tackled election law. In March, House Democrats passed the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that seeks to change campaign finance, voting and ethics laws.

The bill would expand access to the ballot box by creating automatic voter registration across the country by registering eligible voters whenever they interact with government agencies, restoring the voting rights of the formerly incarcerated, expanding early voting and modernizing the country’s voting systems.

However, Senate Republicans filibustered the voting rights legislation in June, and the vote to advance an amended version of the For the People Act split along party lines 50-50, short of the 60 votes needed. All Democratic-aligned senators voted to begin debate, and Republicans unanimously voted to block the bill.

Passage of the voting measure was the final vote of the week for the House, whose members are leaving Washington and won’t return until Sept. 20.

Haley Talbot contributed.

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