Nashville lawyer weighs in with what’s next in Vanderbilt rape case

Grover Collins
Grover Collins with Collins Law Firm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The jury could receive the case in the Vanderbilt University rape trial Monday.

Two former football players and students at the school, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, are on trial for allegedly raping Vandenburg’s then-girlfriend inside his dorm room on June 2013.

The defense plans to call one more witness to the stand Monday before closing arguments, after which the jury will begin deliberation.

Sunday night, News 2 sat down with Grover Collins, a Nashville attorney with Collins Law Firm.

“Rather or not they have made up their mind, the closing arguments are crucial,” Collins said. “Jury deliberation is a tricky thing. There’s no telling how often or how long a jury will deliberate.

Vandenburg and Batey are charged alongside Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of sexual battery.

Vandenburg is additionally charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.

Vanderbilt rape suspects
Former Vanderbilt University football players accused of rape

When asked if Vandenburg and Batey could be found of lesser charges, Collins, who briefly represented one of the four defendants, said “yes.”

“Whenever someone is charged with aggravated rape, what’s also included is three less included charges,” Collins explained. “Those charges are rape, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery.”

The penalties for each charge vary.

“Aggravated rape is a class A penalty. That’s 15 to 30 years. Rape is class B, eight to 30 [years]. Aggravated sexual battery, class B. Sexual battery [class] E. One to six years,” Collins said.

Collins added that the fate of the football players will rest in the jurors’ hands, and even though there’s not any evidence that shows Vandenburg physically participated in the incident, “one could argue that aided and abetted the alleged defense is what Mr. Vandenburg is guilty of. It will be up to the jury.”

Last Friday, Vandenburg said he would not testify in his own defense.

Court begins again Monday at 9 a.m.

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