DA's response to 'destroyed' evidence blisters defense attorneys - WKRN News 2

DA's response to 'destroyed' evidence in Vandy rape case blisters defense attorneys

Posted: Updated: Apr 30, 2014 09:17 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In a rare out-of-court response to a defense motion in the Vanderbilt rape case involving one of four ex-football players, Nashville District Attorney Torry Johnson blistered allegations that evidence was “destroyed” or “lost.”

The three paragraph statement issued by the retiring DA read:

“This is an obvious tactical ploy by Mr. [Brandon] Vandenburg’s attorneys to intimidate the victim and malign veteran prosecutors and experienced police detectives by circulating unfounded allegations that not only can taint a potential jury pool but also prevent the State of Tennessee and the victim from obtaining a fair trial.

“The fact is, our office has given defense counsel for all four defendants complete access to the investigative file as the materials have become available. I should emphasize that the discovery information we have provided far exceeds what is legally required by our rules of criminal procedure. In spite of the tactics these defense attorneys have chosen to employ, we remain committed to providing full and open discovery to all attorneys in this case.

“Our office has repeatedly stated that we will not try this case in the media; however, given this latest motion, we can’t let these baseless allegations go without a response. I want to make it clear that the claims alleged by Mr. Vandenburg’s defense team will be addressed fully in court.”

The district attorney’s response follows a 24-page motion and dozens of pages of exhibits to support a request from Vandenburg’s attorneys to dismiss charges against their client.

They concluded in a motion filed late Tuesdays that, “the justice system, through the prosecutor’s office and its prosecutors and detectives, has tainted that fairness and due process standard” because “crucial and material information to the defense of Vandenburg was destroyed or not preserved.”

The documents filed by Vandenburg’s defense team claims the bulk of text messages from the alleged victim and other witnesses including former head Vanderbilt coach James Franklin are missing.

SLIDESHOW: Vanderbilt University rape case

The former player’s defense team contends there are other also missing surveillance video and posts to social media sites.

All this comes days before a scheduled motion hearing Tuesday.

News 2 has learned that Vandenburg’s defense team has subpoenaed 13-high profile individuals who have been involved with the case.

They include District Attorney Johnson and Vanderbilt’s General Counsel Audrey Anderson.

Johnson’s office tells News 2 that the DA “at the moment is planning to be there,” but that could change depending on the time it takes for other motions in the case that day.

Vandenburg and former teammates Brandon Banks, Cory Batey and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie are charged with the rape of an unconscious female student last June.

Vandenburg is additionally charged with unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.

All four have since been kicked off Vanderbilt's football team. They have pleaded not guilty and are out of jail on bond.

Click here for complete coverage of the Vanderbilt rape case.

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