Prosecutor: Someone trying to intimidate Vanderbilt rape victim - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Prosecutor: Someone trying to intimidate Vanderbilt rape victim

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The district attorney's office is concerned someone is trying to intimidate the alleged victim in the Vanderbilt rape case, and the Channel 4 I-Team found defense attorneys and prosecutors agree it could jeopardize the fairness of a trial.

In an exclusive interview with the Channel 4 I-Team, Davidson County prosecutor Tom Thurman says he is now very concerned about the case against the four former players accused of raping an unconscious student in a campus residence hall.

"It's an attempt to intimidate our victim, I think, to release the information," said Thurman.

The Tennessean reported in December 2013 the victim initially told police she didn't think she had been raped. But prosecutors have said she was unconscious at the time of the alleged attack and suspect Brandon Vandenburg has even been charged with taking pictures of what was going on.

Thurman tells the Channel 4 I-Team the victim is fully cooperating with the investigation.

"She is a very strong young woman, very willing to go forward in this case," said Thurman.

Both Thurman and defense attorney Worrick Robinson, who represents defendant Cory Batey, say they have learned other confidential information may have been released publicly.

They won't go in to detail about what that information is.

"I believe, absolutely, that somewhere someone has intentionally distributed the evidence in an attempt to manipulate the public opinion," said Robinson.

The attorney representing the victim in this case said they don't want to comment at this time but told us they are fully supportive of Thurman and his team.

The Channel 4 I-Team also contacted Vandenburg's defense team for comment about concerns from the prosecutor and other defense attorneys, but attorney John Herbison said that's "bizarre."

"What has been put out recently suggests that no crime occurred at all, and to suggest any defendant has been prejudiced by that is ridiculous," said Herbison.

The Channel 4 I-Team asked Herbison for more information, but he refused, citing previous reporting about his defense team.

Batey's attorney has told the Channel 4 I-Team that he wants his client tried separately from defendant Vandenburg, and he may also try to get a change of venue, saying his client can't get a fair trial now.

That's something Thurman says could happen.

"It will be up to the court to determine if that occurs in this case, and, obviously, it could prejudice the state's right to a fair trial also," said Thurman.

The Channel 4 I-Team also talked with the attorney for defendant Brandon Banks, who said he is also very concerned about these latest developments.

We should mention that Channel 4 is part of a media coalition suing to gain access to certain documents in this case we believe should be public record.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Police on scene of active shooter at Hattiesburg bar

    Police on scene of active shooter at Hattiesburg bar

    Saturday, September 23 2017 4:41 AM EDT2017-09-23 08:41:26 GMT

    Emergency personnel are on the scene of an active shooter report at a Hattiesburg bar. Police responded to Ropers Rockin-Country bar on Highway 49 after reports of an active shooter. Per HPD Capt. Branden McLemore, roughly 20-30 shots were fired outside the bar, no reports of anyone hit or injured. Suspect believed to be barricaded in a vehicle. No injuries reported at this time. Copyright WDAM 2017. All rights reserved. 

    More >>

    Emergency personnel are on the scene of an active shooter report at a Hattiesburg bar. Police responded to Ropers Rockin-Country bar on Highway 49 after reports of an active shooter. Per HPD Capt. Branden McLemore, roughly 20-30 shots were fired outside the bar, no reports of anyone hit or injured. Suspect believed to be barricaded in a vehicle. No injuries reported at this time. Copyright WDAM 2017. All rights reserved. 

    More >>
  • High school football roundup: Hattiesburg, North Forrest win at home

    High school football roundup: Hattiesburg, North Forrest win at home

    Saturday, September 23 2017 1:24 AM EDT2017-09-23 05:24:16 GMT
    Source: WDAMSource: WDAM

    Hattiesburg/Gautier Hattiesburg continued its winning ways Friday with a 56-13 win over Gautier. Jarod Conner scored twice to help ignite the Tigers offense. The Tigers host Stone next week. North Forrest/Heidelberg North Forrest won its fourth game in a row, taking down Heidelberg 20-6. Daylyn Croom found Jalen Grant in the corner of the end zone to finish the scoring for the Eagles. North Forrest will host St. Patrick next week while Heidelberg visits Collins. Copyrig...

    More >>

    Hattiesburg/Gautier Hattiesburg continued its winning ways Friday with a 56-13 win over Gautier. Jarod Conner scored twice to help ignite the Tigers offense. The Tigers host Stone next week. North Forrest/Heidelberg North Forrest won its fourth game in a row, taking down Heidelberg 20-6. Daylyn Croom found Jalen Grant in the corner of the end zone to finish the scoring for the Eagles. North Forrest will host St. Patrick next week while Heidelberg visits Collins. Copyrig...

    More >>
  • WATCH: WDAM 7 Gametime Show Sept. 22

    WATCH: WDAM 7 Gametime Show Sept. 22

Powered by Frankly