NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A high school friend of Brandon Vandenburg testified Wednesday that videos sent to him by his friend were “horrific” and that he was “coerced” to initially lie to investigators in the Vanderbilt University rape case involving several ex-football players.
The testimony from Joseph Quinzio came in the eighth day of the trial for Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, who are charged with raping Vanderburg’s then girlfriend during the early morning hours of June 23, 2013. She was unconscious at the time.
Quinzio, from Vandenburg’s home state of California, is charged with tampering with electronic evidence following the alleged assault.
He told the court he had a plea agreement with prosecutors that reduced his bond and the charges to a misdemeanor.
Quinzio testified how Vandenburg sent three videos of the alleged assault to him while the two engaged in text conversations regarding the alleged rape.
One of the text conversations prior to the alleged assault included Vandenburg telling Quinzio he was going to “make sure” he had sex that night.
The next conversation between the two, which occurred later in the night, included the videos now used as evidence in the case.
When asked to describe them by the prosecution, Quinzio replied, “Horrific. Surprising. Not good.”
He stated, “The first video was anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds long. There was a blonde girl, face down on the ground.”
Quinzio added that he didn’t know who the girl was and that she was the same girl in all three videos taken by Vandenburg. He also said three African-American males were in the videos.
The prosecution also asked Quinzio what he did with the videos, to which he replied, “Once I received them, I deleted him.” He added “because I didn’t want them on my own phone.”
It was then revealed that the iPhone Quinzio used that night “was later destroyed” by Vandenburg.
Quinzio also testified that Vandenburg then bought him a new phone. A receipt for the purchase was shown in court as evidence.
The videos were also synced to Quinzio’s computer through his iPhone, and Quinzio testified, “Mr. Vandenburg wanted to erase the software and he tried but it failed.”
He ended his testimony during a heated exchange with one defense attorney after telling prosecutors, “I believe I was coerced to tell the lie.”
“By whom?” asked prosecutor Jan Norman. “By Mr. Vandenburg and his attorney,” responded Quinzio.
It led to a testy exchange with Vandenburg’s attorney Fletcher Long who wondered, “Why did you want to tell this jury you were being coerced?”
Quinzio responded, “Because I was.” But Long shot back that he was Mr. Vandenburg’s attorney, to which Quinzio replied, “It wasn’t you.”
“You are the one that lied, Mr. Quinzio, aren’t you?” asked Long. “Yes, at first,” replied Quinzio.
Quinzio also told the court the videos were in a group text message including three other people. He didn’t recognize two of the numbers but the third was a mutual friend of Vandenburg’s named Miles Finley, also of California, who is charged alongside Quinzio with tampering with evidence.
Finley testified in court earlier Wednesday morning that he received two videos.
He read several of his responses out loud, including, “You’re gonna get in trouble,” “she could call rape,” “don’t let her wake up,” and “dog, kick that b^%&* out or gangbang her.”
Finley said Vandenburg’s response was to “delete this text,” which he did the next morning.
In regard to Finley’s cell phone, Finley testified Vandenburg later “smashed it and threw it in a lake.”
Vandenburg’s attorney, Fletcher Long, then aggressively questioned Finley regarding his text messages, repeating them to clarify what he meant by certain words texted to Vandenburg.
“You were giving him direction that night telling him what to do, weren’t you Mr. Finley?” Fletcher said. “Don’t look at him. Look up here at me. Why are you looking over there? I’m over here. Who are you looking at?”
Finley responded, “Sir, could you please calm down because I’m not yelling at you.”
Earlier in the day Wednesday, the alleged victim’s roommate took the stand, testifying to the victim’s appearance the day after the alleged assault.
Vandenburg and Batey each face five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery alongside two other former teammates, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks.
Vandenburg is additionally charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
A trial date has yet to be set for Mckenzie, who testified Tuesday, and Banks.