Jury Foreman Todd Easter, got a little more fame than he bargained for today after Nashville Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins granted a mistrial for Vanderbilt University foottball players, Brandon Vandenburg, and Corey Batey who were earlier convicted of multiple sex crimes.
Judge Watkins said:
“The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by juror #9’s conduct.”
Complicating the matter for himself, Vandenburg was also convicted for either tampering/obstruction of justice after flying back to California to get rid of the his co-Defendants phones. (Read: Evidence.)
Also, (as Vandenburg can’t seem to stay out of trouble), he picked up another assault charge at his little brother’s school.
But the case spun around Todd Easter, the juror who lied about a prior statutory rape conviction.
Because truth is stranger than fiction, Easter’s past was brought to light by…his attacker.
This will afford Brandon Vandenburg and Corey Batey the opportunity to
A: Get religion
B. Work on a plea deal.
Corey we think, might have religion. He apologized during the trial for his behavior. He owned it.
Brandon Vandenburg remained the total opposite.
Brandon Vandenburg’s prior, shouted claims including claiming he was second, (first) and that God was first, (second.) Dude never got the irony.
Defense attorneys will be in court at 9 a.m. Wednesday, rarin’ to go for bonds to be reinstated for Brandon Vandenburg, 22, and Cory Batey, 21. (Prior to trial, both had been out on bond.)
However, given the amount of evidence, the bail amount is likely to be skyscraper high.
Also, as earlier mentioned, Vandenburg picked up another assault charge while out on bail, which will have a high-bail amount, impact.
Am thinking Corey Batey’s bail won’t be as high…but high bail over-all seems likely, given the amount of video and phone pics and texting data Vandenburg and the others, inadvertently supplied in copious amounts.
Also, plainly speaking, only the defendants are happy. Everyone else is in an uproar.
We likewise wonder if given time, if the only sober one in the bunch, another one of those Texas style graduates from a Christian school, Mack Prioleau, the team player who, testified after seeing what was going on, rolled over and pretended to be asleep, doing nothing to aid the victim.
A year and a half later, Prioleau set a new high on the creep-o-meter when he testified he still wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t do anything differently.
So naturally anyone might wonder if Prioleau will again testify – exactly the same way.
The victim has not yet weighed in.
Now seems like a great time for a plea deal. After all, this time, the Defendants attorneys might have finally gotten a clue their earlier defense,
“Devil alcohol and the college culture did it”
ain’t gonna fly.
A plea might work, considering the dorm video and the defendant’s own photographs and texts, seldom has one multiple sex crime ever been better documented by the Defendants themselves. But the ego of Vandenburg’s family in going all in, can’t be discounted.
30 years, nothing less.
Works for me.
If you were the defense attorney and you wanted to negotiate a plea what would be realistically possible? All of the charges carry mandatory minimums . The time will almost surely run concurrently . Therefore , the best they can do is 15 years served , assuming that the prosecutors have the will to try the case again . 15 years is a long bid , and both of their lives are ruined . They will have to survive 15 years in a state prison . Some of the time will be in a maximum security joint . And then , they come out at 37 or so as a top level sex offender . It is simply a crushing blow to their lives .
My apologies for for the delay in getting back to you. I’ve thought a lot about your question, and ultimately arrived at the conclusion there’s no way they will do the lower number. Because the defense hasn’t anything to work with. Absent the high-disgust factor, is that the Defendants themselves made sure to document just about everything concerning their crime. In Brandon’s case, the planning, the shots during the crime, the clear planning afterward, (including convincing the victim the problem was him getting in trouble for her drinking) the extremes Brandon went to – to destroy evidence, (also documented) while picking up another assault charge in California while out on bail; he’s toast. Then consider the DA’s leaning on the remaining defendants, I just don’t see anything the defense team has to work with. I really don’t. But I know they are talking as there is a, “So whatcha got” hearing scheduled. And of course, not one word on the thoughts of the victim. She’s key. Also, I can’t see how all the charges will run concurrently. Turns out, Brandon was a walking crime spree. But, I could be wrong.
If plea deals are offered , what is the realistic and fair way to go about it ? Batey did he vast majority of the physical attacking . Vandenberg would almost surely get offered the same deal . At this time I suspect that the offer is simply to plead guilty to all charges in exchange for a recommendation of leniency . And by that, I mean something around 17 years . That is how I see it at this time .
Yours is an interesting question, made more difficult – I suspect, due to the fact no one has mentioned the victim’s wishes – although I believe much is riding on her attitude. Also, relevant is the DA being in a difficult position from their PR debacle known as Todd Easter.
On the other hand the Defense has no favors owed as one of Brandon Vandenburg’s attorneys was convicted of ripping off a client and permanently disbarred. (He now has a radio program.)
But as Brandon was the facilitator, who went to extreme lengths to destroy evidence, never mind lie to the victim as she was initially supportive of him in the lie he told her (in which he blamed her for drinking and getting him into trouble)…and managed to pick up another assault charge while out on bail, he should receive the longest sentence…after receiving, if any, the lamest plea offer.
I don’t think anyone will bite on any kind of “request for leniency.” Too much evidence. Way too much attempted destruction of evidence.
The judge has called a “status conference” to see where everyone is at, for the November trial. That is an indicator of something being offered, but no idea what, of course.
I can see why Mack Prioleau intrigues you… clean-cut christian kid from Texas… still on Facebook. I still wonder how he explained his behavior that night to his mother.
I believe this cowardly piece of work is back in Texas working for Daddy.
That’s how they roll.
No doubt Vandenburg could be diagnosed with some type of Extreme Personality Disorder by psychiatrists. However, what set of facts would support an insanity plea complete with a “Get Out of Jail” card? There’s just not a lot of wiggle room for his defense counsel, frankly. Now Corey’s counsel has a potential plea deal – right along with Banks & Mackenzie – to plead guilty in exchange for throwing Vandenburg under the bus (where he belongs). Since Judge Watkins didn’t agree with me on the juror/retrial biz, JMHO may not be persuasive on this either. 😉
None. At least in my view. But then, I would never qualify for the jury. Both sides would race to bounce me. 🙂
My major hope is Corey takes a deal and Brandon Vandenburg goes away forever.
Playing devils advocate here: if there was a retrial would could the defense attorneys do differently? The facts are out there. Is Corey a Christian bible thumping angel now? He clung to his story that he didn’t remember from beginning to end what could he say in a new trial?
This reminds me of the Menendez brothers from the 80s. First trial they came off as arrogant assholes that murdered their parents. When they were retried and repackaged as choir boys that suffered abuse from their dad everyone thought it was a joke. Verdict – guilty
Brandon and Corey were found guilty after 3 hrs of deliberation. Why would a new trail be any different.
With my tongue planted firmly in my check, what attorneys need to do differently, is: Everything.
As the “Devil Alcohol” defense didn’t work, that’s clearly a no-brainer. Also, idiot Brandon picked up another charge while out on bail, so clearly he’s learned nothing.
So Brandon Vandenburg’s defense has to be: Acute mental illness. Time for medical doctors to say he has an acute, oppositional disorder, as evidenced from his high school days when, although a star player…the coach benched him for most of the season, based on his poor attitude. That’s their only real shot.
As for Corey….believe the jury might have gone easier on him had he not made the “Take that, for 200 years of slavery” comment.
And a retrial will show the world one more time, what a cowardly piece of work Mack Prioleau is, courtesy of his Texas style Christian upbringing and schooling.
Am thinking if the Victim decides not to testify, the DA might rethink the matter, due to trial costs, (never mind they already look like losers, and a need another trial needs to restore their image) and reluctantly offer a plea. They don’t need the Victim to testify again, as that testimony is on record. But juries like it. So there’s that.
When is the new trial?
Currently the re-trial, begins November 30, 2015. It’s an odd kind of change of venue. The jury will be sequestered. Also, the jury will be selected Chattanooga, then I dunno, bussed to Nashville.
By the way, Brandon Banks and Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, who at this point I would classify as “alleged Defendants” are also, supposedly, going to be facing rape charges. However, as no trial dates for them have yet to be made, I suspect much in the way of plea bargaining to be going on.
I can’t believe they did not put alcohol restrictions on them, especially since alcohol made them do the rape. What happens when they drink too much again – rape someone else? In one way I want to see them go back to trial but hate to see the victim have to go thru all this again, but like the fact that they will have to pay attorney fees again but then again it will cost the state a lot to retrial. On the other hand I would be OK with a plea deal and many years locked up as long as the victim is OK with it. Maybe she should decide how many years if she agrees to a plea deal.
Also the “friends” that testified and took a deal to testify, what makes them agree again to testify or do they lose their deals they had for testifying at the first trial.
My thought remains the same. Alcohol enabled Vandenburg and the rest to commit the rape. I do not agree with the premise, alcohol “made them do the rape” which echoes the Defense attorneys who wanted to blame alcohol instead of those consuming it. Also, Brandon has been declared indigent. Sorry to mention it’s now on the good citizens of Tennessee who are paying his legal fees. Not sure about Perez, though. I don’t support a plea deal, but ultimately, the wishes of the victim, will impact the DA.
Unlike others, I don’t think a re-trial will re-victimize her. I believe a re-trial will empower her. No doubt Defense attorneys are begging for a plea deal – something they should have done from the jump. Which is why I mentioned “Malpractice” from the JUMP.
It’s vert unfortunate this happened but it doesn’t change the facts. Even if they plea I can’t see them getting off lightly. Am I being naive?
I don’t think so!
Given everything that was discovered about this juror after the verdict was handed down, I can’t see how anyone could be surprised at the judge’s decision today. But I also can’t see the prosecution agreeing to a plea deal that doesn’t include a lengthy sentence. The evidence was overwhelming and the first jury came back with a decisive verdict in just 3 hours.
Does anyone know what a typical sentence for this type of crime(s) would be in the state of Tennessee? I would hope the prosecution decides not to accept much less in a plea deal just because these rapists decide to plead guilty.
Double decades. Both Vandenburg and Batey were convicted (in three hours) of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.
Additionally, Brandon racked up the tampering with evidence/ obstruction of justice. My sources are saying Prosecutors are livid. Not at Judge Watkins, who made the right call.
My hope is the County bills Todd Easter for trial costs, and charges him with perjury.