Report: Attorneys for Vandy player seek to have rape verdict dashed
Defense attorneys for former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg, who along with ex-teammate Cory Batey was convicted of rape on Wednesday, are reportedly seeking to have the verdict tossed.
According to NewsChannel 5 (Jrn.com), the defense claims to have learned that one of the jurors was not forthcoming about being a victim of sexual assault. NewsChannel 5 reports it has independently verified that the juror was a sexual assault victim but never let that be known when the jury was being picked.
"It would’ve been useful to know this information in a case that had some of the same types of scenarios and allegations to which [the juror] had been a victim,” said Fletcher Long, a defense attorney for Vandenburg. “It’s incredible they didn’t think that information was warranted. …
"It could cause a mistrial, it could cost the entire case."
Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk, however, does not seem to agree.
"One of the good things about a jury is we all bring our own experiences into the jury box and deliberation room and we want a jury with a variety of experiences, I do not think in this instance would cause there to be any problem with the verdict," he said.
UPDATE: According to NewsChannel 5, Sunny Eaton, the lawyer for the juror in question, said Friday, "Despite what has been reported so far, there is zero similarity between [the juror’s] past situation and the facts presented in the Vanderbilt trial. No similarity whatsoever." Eaton also reportedly believes her client acted correctly as a juror and that the juror’s reported past did not influence the juror’s deliberations and decision-making during the trial.
Vandenburg and Batey were convicted of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a former student. The jury rejected claims that they were too drunk to know what they were doing and that a college culture of binge drinking and promiscuous sex should be blamed for the attack.
Vandenburg and Batey face decades in prison when they are sentenced March 6.
No trial date has been set for Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Banks, the two other former Vanderbilt players accused in the assault.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.