[Watch live coverage of the trial in the player above when court is in session, courtesy of WSMV]
The rape trial of Brandon Banks continues on Thursday. Banks is accused of participating in the gang rape of an unconscious student along with three teammates from the Vanderbilt University football team.
Banks’ attorney claims that Vandenburg pressured his client into participating, but prosecutors are pointing to nearly two dozen photographs of the incident that authorities discovered on Banks’ cell phone. Videos were also taken, showing Banks assaulting the female student.
Both Banks and the victim took the stand on Wednesday. First, the woman testified, describing her lack of recollection of the incident, due to being unconscious. “The last thing I remember is taking a few sips from a drink that he gave me,” referring to Banks’ teammate Brandon Vandenburg, who was already convicted after facing his own trial. She described injuries that she discovered the following morning, after waking up in a strange room. She said that she didn’t know who Banks was at the time.
Following the victim’s testimony, Banks himself testified in his own defense. He said that he first saw the victim when Vandenburg was trying to get her to a dorm. He said he told Vandenburg, “she needs to go to the hospital,” but Vandenburg said, “F that.” Banks also described how Vandenburg ordered him to take pictures during the assault. He said that he was intimidated by Vandenburg.
Closing arguments are expected to take place on Thursday after other witnesses testify for the defense. The jury would then begin their deliberations.
Banks is charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, and faces at least 15 years in prison. In addition to Vandenburg, teammate Cory Batey has already been convicted. The fourth teammate, Jaborian McKenzie, has yet to face trial.
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