Two California attorneys can stay on the legal defense team for Brandon Vandenburg, one of four former Vanderbilt University football players charged in the June 2013 rape of a female student inside his campus dorm.
In a 4-page order, Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins ruled Thursday that California attorney Albert Perez Jr. and retired judge Eugene Osko meet state requirements to stay on the case and that Perez did not err in making statements about the case in a local TV news interview.
The comments by Perez, "although colorfully opinionated, do not rise to the level of material prejudice," the judge wrote.
Watkins also warned lawyers in the high-profile case to follow the rules of professional conduct, promising that "failure to comply will result in further Court action."
The order puts to rest a months-long challenge against Vandenburg's out-of-state attorneys.
Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman had accused Perez of destroying evidence and making improper public statements and Osko of practicing law in the state without a license — although he later dropped any objection to Osko taking part.
The wrangling followed the exit of two of Vandenburg's initial attorneys from the case. Those attorneys were local. Their departure had left in question the participation of the California lawyers.
Vandenburg's team includes Clarksville attorneys Fletcher Long and John Herbison, who challenged Thurman to prove his accusations about Perez, calling them "reckless allegations."
Vandenburg, of Indio, Calif., faces five charges of aggravated rape, as do three other former players. Vandenburg and two of his friends in California also face lesser charges.