Jessica Finn and Associated Press, Daily Mail, June 19, 2017
A Vanderbilt University football player charged with raping an unconscious female student says he was bullied into participating in the heinous act by his teammate, his lawyer argued during the opening of his trial Monday.
Brandon Banks’ defense attorney Katie Hagan, says he was acting under duress during the 2013 rape that was partially captured on his cellphone. The assault happened in a Vanderbilt campus dorm room.
Hagan said that teammate Brandon Vandenburg, 23, ‘was pressuring and goading’ Banks throughout the incident.
Vandenburg, who was dating the woman at the time, was sentenced to 17 years in prison in June 2016 for his role in the rape. Cory Batey, 23, another teammate, received a 15-year sentence in April 2016.
On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman opened the trial by telling jurors, in graphic detail, that a video shows Banks assaulting the student with a water bottle. Banks’ cellphone also contained 23 of 41 images of the assault, Norman said in Davidson County Criminal Court.
The victim, then a 21-year-old neuroscience major, has testified that she had no memory of the event.
Prosecutors say the last thing she remembers was Vandenburg giving her a blue-colored drink at a bar.
Surveillance video shows Vandenburg helped carry the woman into his dorm room, where prosecutors say he handed out condoms to his three teammates and egged them on.
Vandenburg also took cellphone videos of the rape and emailed them to friends in California, prosecutors said.
In opening statements, defense attorney Hagan said trial jurors must determine if Brandon E. Banks was acting under duress during the rape, which has led to convictions and prison sentences for two of his three teammates also charged in the incident.
Banks is charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The 23-year-old has pleaded not guilty. Banks is listed on the roster for Lane College’s football team.
Prosecutors said the victim will take the stand against Banks. Because there have been multiple trials and sentencings, this would mark her fifth time testifying in the case.
The defenses of Vandenburg and Batey said the two were drunk during the incident.
The fourth former player charged, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, has testified against his teammates and is slated to take the stand in Banks’ case.
The DailyMail does not release the identity of victims of sexual assault.