Judge Monte Watkins declared Thursday the alleged victim in the Vanderbilt rape case “can view the proceedings outside of the courtroom free of intimidation.”
It was part of a ruling that came down after what has been a stormy week of motions before the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday.
The judge’s words came Thursday afternoon in a two-page ruling that detailed why he won’t recuse himself from the highly-charged case.
Lawyers for two of the four ex-Vanderbilt football players charged with raping an unconscious female student at a campus dorm had asked for the recusal in a motion filed earlier this week.
They felt the judge acted improperly when he allowed video streaming of a motions hearing earlier this month without their knowledge.
The defense for suspects Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey later learned that the alleged victim in the case watched those early October proceedings from the District Attorney’s office.
Watkins said from the bench on Wednesday that he would not recuse himself, but on Thursday he formalized it on the record.
In the two-page ruling he wrote “no party would gain a procedural or tactical advantage” by the video streaming. “Modern technology has provided the opportunity for the alleged victim to watch the proceedings outside the courtroom free of intimidation.”
Defense attorney John Herbison, who is representing Vandenburg, told News 2 “an appeal before Monday is unlikely.”
He added that he believes “there is an issue that could be raised if a post-trial is necessary.”
In another ruling Thursday the judge gave the defense a very short time frame to come up with some materials sought by the prosecution.
The defense has until Friday to come up with documents related to the reports two psychologists have made concerning the two suspects.