DA asks TV station not to air video evidence in Vanderbilt rape case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – District Attorney Glenn Funk has asked a Nashville TV station “to refrain from airing any portion of a videotape that may be evidence in the Vanderbilt rape case.”

That word came Thursday morning from Funk’s spokesperson Dorinda Carter who told News 2 that, “in particular, [the DA] is asking that it not be broadcast prior to jury selection.”

The first day of jury selection for the trial of two of the four ex-Vanderbilt football players charged with raping an unconscious female at a campus dorm is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Carter said it’s her understanding that the station is “planning to proceed with airing the videotape.”

The issue was brought up Thursday afternoon during a motions hearing.

Deputy DA Tom Thurman registered concern after hearing about a promotion that touted “surveillance tape” from the Vanderbilt case.

Thurman’s concerns were echoed by Judge Monte Watkins.

He indicated the broadcast of a tape could “be a major problem with the trial itself” because he had ordered items like videotape evidence sealed from the public record until trial.

Thursday, another member of suspect Brandon Vandenburg’s defense team, told News 2 he had “nothing to do ” with the Vanderbilt surveillance videotape ending up with a Nashville television station.

“I would never violate a court’s protective order. Brandon’s defense would not benefit from this, and I am focused on Brandon’s defense,” Fletcher Long said.

On Thursday, Vandenburg defense attorney John Herbison echoed those words in open court, but he told Judge Watkins he raised another issue by saying, “I do know in other cases there is a history of what is probably police officers leaking information to media that lawyers are prohibited from releasing.”

Judge Watkins is expected to rule on several motions later Thursday that were brought up in the hearing.


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