Contempt of court, ‘smoking gun’ discussed in Vandy rape case - WKRN News 2

Contempt of court, 'smoking gun' discussed in Vanderbilt rape case hearing

Posted: Updated: Jun 30, 2014 07:32 PM
Brandon Vandenburg is one of four ex-football players accused in an on-campus rape last summer. Brandon Vandenburg is one of four ex-football players accused in an on-campus rape last summer.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - "Contempt of court" and "smoking gun" were some of the words tossed about Monday in a hearing for Brandon Vandenburg, one of four ex-Vanderbilt football players charged with raping a female student last summer.

The "smoking gun" reference came mid-afternoon in the nearly all-day hearing before Judge Monte Watkins.

In response to questions from Vandenburg's defense attorney Albert Perez, Metro Police Detective Chad Gish told him he had found what he termed a "smoking gun."

Det. Gish told Perez, "It's when I found images of the victim being brutally raped of your defendant's cell phone."

Perez then shot back a question about the alleged victim in the case who is referred to as "Jane Doe" in the court documents.

"You just said you saw images. You explain to the court right now images you saw of Jane Doe being brutally raped," demanded Perez.

The detective did explain in graphic detail.

SLIDESHOW: Vanderbilt University rape case

Shortly after the hearing began Monday morning, prosecutors asked Judge Watkins to hold Vandenburg's four defense attorneys in criminal contempt of court.

Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman said the defense attorneys violated the state's rape shield law when they filed a 130-page motion last week that contained personal information about the rape victim, such as her name, photos, medical records and Twitter account.

She accused the defense of trying to intimidate the victim, while defense attorneys said the information was public record.

Vandenburg's attorney John Herbison said the defense team "was being sandbagged" because "this is the first mention... of any criminal contempt."

Judge Watkins indicated he was not ready to make ruling on the contempt request, but he did rule that all future filings would be sealed.

He also indicated that defense attorneys will get medical records of the victim, pending any challenge from her attorney.

Monday's testimony included a long list of potential witnesses including District Attorney Torry Johnson, who was excused by Judge Watkins.

Another issue being heard revolves around accusations made by the defense of prosecutorial misconduct.

They claim videotape evidence has been altered or withheld so the case against Vandenburg should be thrown out.

Those motions will likely be decided in the coming weeks before a scheduled August 11 trial.

Vandenburg and former teammates Brandon Banks, Cory Batey, and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie are each charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery for the alleged rape which took place in Vandenburg’s on-campus dorm room in June of 2013.

All four have since pleaded not guilty and are out of jail on bond.

Click here for complete coverage of the Vanderbilt rape case.
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