NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
A new filing by the defense attorneys for ex-Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Vandenburg says former head coach James Franklin may have contacted the victim at the center of a rape case four days after the alleged incident.
The defense team is also asking a judge to dismiss the case for allegedly destroying or not preserving evidence in the case.
“The defense in this case has been provided a great deal of material. What we have been provided suggests there is other evidence that we have not been provided,” said defense attorney John Herbison, who represents Vandenburg.
Herbison also said the majority of thousands of text messages and hundreds of phone calls on the alleged victim’s phone are missing, including the correspondence with Franklin and former Director of Performance Enhancement at Vanderbilt, Dwight Galt.
In the 24-page motion, Vandenburg’s attorneys says in an interview the victim of the alleged rape said she was contacted by the two during her medical examination last June because they “cared about her because she assisted them with recruiting.”
It also states, “Coach Franklin called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get 15 pretty girls together and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules. He added that all the other colleges did it.”
Herbison said he learned about the potential correspondence between the victim and Franklin through a recording.
“It is what the alleged victim told police,” he stated, continuing, “There are some materials that we have been provided that are subject to a protective order on anything on video, any photographic evidence we’re prohibited from discussing.”
In a statement, Franklin said, "The allegations that I did something wrong are simply not true," he said. "I have cooperated fully with the authorities in this matter but, out of respect for the legal process, I am not able to comment any further."
On Wednesday, a top Nashville attorney offered some advice to Franklin regarding the alleged allegations.
“I think whenever someone says, ‘I am not going to comment out of respect for a legal process,’ it raises question marks in everybody’s head,” said Jim Todd, a Nashville Defense Attorney who was once a prosecutor with Davidson County. “If you have nothing to hide, why don't you tell us?"
Todd continued, “If I was James Franklin’s attorney and he had nothing to hide, I would say, ‘Okay, did you meet with the victim? And what was the conversation about? And if it’s fine, let’s tell everybody that will put it to rest.’"
Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson criticized the filing, calling it “an obvious tactical ploy by Mr. Vandenburg’s attorneys to intimidate the victim and malign veteran prosecutors and experienced police detectives by circulating unfounded allegations that not only can taint a potential jury pool but also prevent the state of Tennessee and the victim from obtaining a fair trial.” Read the complete statement.
Vandenburg and former teammates Brandon Banks, Cory Batey and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie are each charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery for the alleged rape which occurred last June in Vandenburg’s on-campus dorm. The female victim was unconscious at the time.
Vandenburg is additionally charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
All four of the men have since been kicked off Vanderbilt's football team. They have pleaded not guilty and are out of jail on bond.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Click here for complete coverage of the Vanderbilt rape case.