Defense wants Vanderbilt rape trial verdict thrown out over juror
Batey (left) and Vandenburg (right)
(ABC) -- The defense team for Brandon Vandenburg, one of the former Vanderbilt University football players who was convicted this week of raping a female classmate, is now trying to get the verdict thrown out after discovering one of the jurors did not disclose he or she was a sexual assault victim.
ABC News has confirmed that the juror in question, whom ABC News has decided not to identify, was a victim of statutory rape 15 years ago, and his or her attacker was sentenced to 12 months in jail and 60 months of probation for the crime, but the juror never revealed that information during the jury selection process.
In a statement to ABC News, the attorney for the juror said that the "past situation has zero similarity to the facts presented within the Vanderbilt trial... nor did the past situation have any impact upon deliberations or decision-making in this case."
Vandenburg's defense said it now plans to file a motion to have the verdict vacated, which, if granted, means the judge could declare a mistrial, and the guilty verdict could be overturned.
On Tuesday, the jury took just three hours to decide Vandenburg and another former Vanderbilt football player, Cory Batey, were each guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg was also found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography after prosecutors claimed he recorded the sexual assault on his phone, shared it with friends and then tried to cover it up.
Vandenburg and Batey were scheduled to be sentenced on March 6.
The graphic sexual assault case played out in a Nashville courtroom over 12 days, as prosecutors presented surveillance video they said showed Vandenburg carrying the victim into his dorm, accompanied by Batey and two other former players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie. Jurors also had to watch cell phone video that prosecutors claimed Vandenburg recorded as the sexual assault went on in his dorm room in 2013.
Prosecutors said the victim, a 21-year-old former neuroscience major and dance team member at the university, was drunk and passed out when the incident occurred.
Three jurors from the trial, who spoke to ABC News' "20/20" the day after the verdict was announced, said the evidence that played the biggest role in deciding their guilty verdict was the videos that prosecutors claimed proved the four former Vanderbilt football players sexually assaulted the victim.
"As soon as we saw the videos and photographic evidence ... we knew exactly who was guilty of what and what we were going to come back with," said juror Todd Easter. "What we knew is that a terrible crime had occurred."
Juror Dr. Corbi Milligan told "20/20" that she was "horrified and utterly disgusted" when she watched the footage.
"I do hold [Vandenburg] criminally responsible for what occurred to [the victim] in that room," Milligan said. "It was horrific. ... She was horribly victimized, and as difficult as it was for us to have to render that verdict, it was justice, and it had to be done."
Another juror, Dr. Deirde Young, said the footage made her feel "awful."
"I asked myself, 'how could they do this to that young lady?'" Young added. "There can't be enough explanation to me. I don't know, I think they need to do some real soul searching. I've never experienced anything like these young men."
The defense argued the young men were not guilty of rape, but rather of making a mistake. Batey's lawyer, Worrick Robinson, claimed that college culture put his client in the situation, but the jurors said they weren't buying that argument.
"It's not a defense against a crime, and I think that's the core thing," Milligan said. "Several people, men and women, were seen on the surveillance camera and saw the victim in this state, and no one stopped to think, 'Is she going to be OK?'"
When the jury was dismissed for deliberations, Young said they all broke down in the jury room.
"Maintaining our composure -- it was difficult for all of us," Young said. "I tell you that composure crumbled when the doors closed."
Two other ex-players accused of being involved in the incident, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie, also face rape and sexual battery charges, but have not yet gone to trial. They have pleaded not guilty.
ABC News' Ryan Smith and Alison Lynn contributed to this report