Ex-Vanderbilt Football Players Accused Of Rape Seek Mistrial


By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 15 (Reuters) - Attorneys for two former Vanderbilt University football players convicted of raping an unconscious female student asked a judge on Monday to declare a mistrial, arguing that a juror withheld his own status as a sexual assault survivor to get on the jury.

Prosecutors said the juror did not see himself as a victim in that case, which involved a consensual sexual relationship with an adult male when he was a teenager, and his failure to disclose it should not result in a mistrial.

Judge Monte Watkins said he expected to rule within eight days on the request from attorneys for Cory Batey, 21, and Brandon Vandenburg, 22, to set aside the January verdict.

Batey and Vandenburg were found guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg also was found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.

Batey's attorney, Worrick Robinson, said the juror had numerous opportunities during the selection process to disclose his past and concealed the information to get on the jury.

The juror testified that he was against charges being brought against the man 15 years ago and viewed threats the man made after their relationship ended as posturing.

Prosecutors accused four Vanderbilt players of raping the woman in June 2013, an assault they said was proved by what the defendants recorded on a cellphone.

Jurors heard 12 days of graphic testimony and deliberated less than four hours before returning a verdict. Batey and Vandenburg face up to 30 years in prison each if their convictions stand.

Defense attorneys had argued that Vandenburg and Batey should be found innocent because Batey was too drunk to make a conscious decision about his actions, and Vandenburg was too intoxicated to commit an assault.

The four Vanderbilt football players accused of rape were kicked off the football team and banned from campus after the charges were filed. Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie are awaiting trial. (Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by David Bailey and Andrew Hay)

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