Next Hearing Set For Ex-Vandy Players In Rape Case

Posted at 6:15 PM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 09:35:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A status hearing was held Friday morning in the case against two former Vanderbilt football players convicted of rape earlier this year.

Cory Batey was present as proceedings got underway at 9 a.m., but Brandon Vandenburg was not inside the courtroom. 

Attorneys for both defendants met in Judge Monte Watkins' chambers, where they discussed updates on the case and also any motions that may be filed.

As of now, no new motions regarding the fall trial have been filed. That is expected to happen within the next two weeks. 

One of those motions will likely involve the jury which will hear the case.

"The purpose is to find an unbiased jury, and a jury that can give a fair trial to everyone involved, all the defendants, and the state," said Batey's attorney Worrick Robinson.

Defense attorneys for both defendants expect to file a motion for change off venire within the next two weeks, that motion would call in a jury from outside of Nashville.

"If the judge decided to grant that, we would go to another city, whatever he selected, we'd pick a jurors there, then bring them back here for the trial. So the trial would still be here in Nashville," said Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman.

The Deputy DA did not give any indication the state would fight that motion if it is filed.

"I haven't looked at all the data, and stuff, that has been gathered by the defense about how much this has been viewed. But it's a different case. I've never had one that's been televised before, that we've had to re-try, so that's obviously a legitimate issue," Thurman said.

After Friday's status hearing Batey was surrounded by members of the clergy, just outside of the courtroom.

"I think there were probably at least eight different pastors here, from different churches," Robinson said.

The pastors reached out to Batey, and his family, after he was released from jail earlier this year.

"I think the Christian look on that is that he's still one of God's children, and he still deserves love," according to Robinson.

There was also a motion filed earlier to separate the trials of the two defendants. Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman confirmed Judge Watkins has denied that request.

Vandenburg and Batey were convicted of raping an unconscious female student inside a Vanderbilt University dorm back in 2013. Both were found guilty on multiple counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery. 

However, a mistrial was declared in June after the jury foreman failed to mention he was a victim of statutory rape during jury selection. Defense attorneys argued there was a bias present -- a bias that gave their two clients an unfair trial.

With their bonds reinstated, Vandenburg and Batey were released from custody and are out on bond. A new trial has been set for November 30. 

Both defendants are expected back in court on September 25.