Brandon Banks Testifies In Own Defense

Posted at 10:20 AM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 20:39:58-04

Brandon Banks, a former Vanderbilt University football player accused in the rape of an unconscious female student, took the stand Wednesday in his own defense. 

He spoke methodically and answered questions directly, detailing the moments of June 23, 2013 when a young woman was raped inside a Vanderbilt University dorm room, then Banks told the jurors he was constantly ridiculed by his teammates because they thought he was gay.

*Warning: the following testimony is graphic* 

That would be the basis of his defense strategy Wednesday morning, a young, rising college athlete, pressured by his former teammates to take pictures of a passed out female student as she lay unconscious on the floor of Gillette Hall. The now 23-year-old painted a picture for jurors of a racially divided football program, where players were constantly trying to have sex with girls on campus.

"At Vanderbilt and especially when you're a freshman there's a 'body count' you keep when you're on campus. It's how many Vanderbilt girls you can sleep with," Banks said as he took the stand in his own defense. "My teammates would ask how many girls have you been with and I said 'zero' and they thought I was gay because I wasn't talking about girls." 

Attorney Mark Scruggs put Banks on the witness stand to push forward the theory that the former Vanderbilt football player acted under duress during the incident, which was captured on iPhone video.

It was the first time Banks has spoken publicly about the rape which sent two of his former teammates, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey to jail. Both were convicted of rape last year. 

Banks, age 23, is facing similar charges of aggravated rape.

"They [Vandenburg] said we were gonna f--- her," Banks said on the witness stand.

"I didn't want to be a part of it but I couldn't leave," he added.



His most disturbing testimony came just before lunch, as Banks detailed what has been alluded to multiple times through this case over the last four years. A number of students saw the unconscious female victim being dragged into Gillette Hall but said nothing.

"Even if I did leave, I still have to see them later on that night or in the locker room," Banks said. "You can't escape that."

Read More: 
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Victim Testifies For 4th Time In Vandy Rape Trial

"Nobody said that we should take her to the hospital, everyone was laughing, so it just seemed okay. No one else was concerned so I didn't feel that I needed to be either," Banks added.



After being forced off the Vanderbilt football team, Banks continued to play for Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. It's unclear who else the defense team will call to testify on Banks' behalf.