DA ‘outraged’ over leaked video in Vanderbilt case, challenges defense

District Attorney Glenn Funk
District Attorney Glenn Funk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Davidson County District Attorney minced no words Monday describing how he felt about video evidence from the Vanderbilt rape case being shown Friday night on ABC’s “20/20.”

Glenn Funk also issued a challenge to the defense team in the case.

“The District Attorney’s Office is outraged that this video has been leaked,” Funk’s statement read. “It is a violation of the court’s protective order, another attack on the victim and it could impact the co-defendant’s right to a fair trial. Every member of the prosecution team is willing to testify, under oath, that the leak did not come from this office. We challenge the defense counsel to do the same.”

Furthermore, Funk said his office will cooperate and assist with any investigation by the court into the breach.

In response to Funk, defense attorney Fletcher Long, who represents Brandon Vandenburg, also said he doesn’t know how “20/20” got the video and posed the question why his team would leak video that harmed their case.

Long added he “won’t bite on the DA’s offer” to take an oath, saying that it “deflects from the issue surrounding jury foreman Todd Easter.”

Defense attorneys said Easter should have revealed during jury selection that he had once been a victim of sexual assault and that his offender served jail time. Easter’s attorney, Sunny Eaton, said Friday she would not characterize the incident that way.

More allegations as to what Easter said about his past are expected when defense attorneys file their motion for a new trial, which may not come until Vandenburg and Cory Batey are sentenced on March 6.

Batey’s lawyer, Worrick Robinson, also responded Funk’s challenge Monday.

“On behalf of myself and colleague Liz Powers we are 100 percent confident that no case material from our office was given to ABC news or 20/20 for a program that aired Friday night Jan. 30. Therefore we are happy to accept the challenge by District Attorney Glenn Funk to testify under oath regarding any question the Court may have about the video footage.”

Robinson went on to say he was “just as surprised as others to see the surveillance and interrogation tapes” of his client on national TV. He echoed that the items are under seal by the judge and “have been off limits to all media” since the investigation began.

“Following the outcome of the trial, there is nothing to gain by releasing any items provided to the defense in the 2013 incident,” Robinsn added, noting “this only hurts the victim and jeopardizes the still pending cases of Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie.”

Metro police also released a statement Monday regarding the leaked video that aired on “20/20.”

It read, “The MNPD had no advance notice that ’20/20′ had obtained surveillance and interrogation materials. The first we knew of it was Friday night after the program came on the air. The police department is emphatic in saying that no one here had any part in the dissemination of this material to ABC. We reject any inference to the contrary.”

The statement concluded, “We are very concerned that it happened. I know the District Attorney’s Office shares that concern.”

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