Attorneys for one of four former Vanderbilt University football players accused in the the rape last summer of an unconscious woman Monday demanded that the charges against him be dropped, in part because video evidence may have been manipulated.
Brandon Vandenburg, 20, from Indio, Calif., is charged along with Cory Batey, 19, of Nashville; Brandon Eric Banks, 19, from Brandywine, Md.; and Jaborian McKenzie, 19, from Woodville, Miss.,on five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg also is charged with one count of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.
Vandenburg's attorneys Monday complained that prosecutors overreached in charging Vandenburg with five full counts in the rape that is alleged to have happened June 23 in his dorm room. They also complained that they have been given inaccessible and incomplete evidence, including surveillance video that is missing "significant portions" of footage.
"We have some real concerns whether the charging process has been abused in this case, charging not based on evidence but instead based on other motives," said attorney John Herbison, who is part of Vandenburg's defense team. "There's an obligation to play fair. We contend that obligation has been breached here."
Herbison's motion also accuses Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman of trying to stop Vandenburg's prior defense attorneys from interviewing witnesses, at one point threatening them with arrest.
The Davidson County District Attorney General's Office put out a brief statement denying those accusations but indicated it would respond to details in court.
"We strongly deny these baseless allegations referenced in the motions filed late this afternoon and deny any inappropriate conduct in this case," said spokeswoman Susan Niland.
Vandenburg and the three others have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond.
Former Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd, 21, of Roswell, Ga., has pleaded guilty to an attempted cover-up of the rape in return for testimony against his former teammates.
Miles Finley, 20, of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., and Joseph Quinzio, 20, of Palm Desert, Calif., are charged with tampering with evidence.
Reach Brian Haas at 615-726-8968 and on Twitter @brianhaas.