Nashville prosecutor: James Franklin did nothing 'inappropriate' - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville prosecutor: James Franklin did nothing 'inappropriate'

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

In a new court filing, the defense team for a former Vanderbilt football player accused of rape not only accuses the district attorney's office of destroying evidence in the case, but also accuses the alleged victim, football players and friends of deleting records.

Brandon Vandenburg's attorneys say in the filing they were not given material evidence, including phone records, campus surveillance video and other documents.

Vandenburg's attorneys also filed the motion Tuesday that the case be dismissed.

The defense claims "calls logs and text messages which were made during the alleged incident or around the time period as well as messages in the days following the alleged incident" were excluded.

Earlier, police reports said Vandenburg and the alleged victim had been drinking at The Tin Roof bar before the alleged rape on June 23, 2013. This latest filing claims at least two other Vanderbilt football players were actually in contact with the alleged victim shortly after the alleged rape.

One was described as her "last memory" before the incident.

In the filing, the defense claims they should have received from the prosecution interview reports in which the alleged victim comments that she "received text messages and made phone calls regarding the alleged incident she called and texted [another player] throughout the early the morning hours" of June 23.

The filing notes the alleged victim would not let police see her phone, but instead she agreed to read some messages aloud.

The defense claims material evidence was destroyed when the alleged victim dropped her phone in the washing machine. The filing says she admitting to deleting pictures and other messages and so did her friend.

"How does the DA charge Finley and Quinzio with crimes of destruction of evidence and not [the friend] and the alleged victim for destroying evidence?" the filing read.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the district attorney's office says the claims are unfounded. It referred to the filing as "an obvious tactical ploy by Mr. Vandenburg's attorneys to intimidate the victim and malign veteran prosecutors and experienced police detectives."

Sarah O'Brien was sexually assaulted as a student at Vanderbilt and has been vocal in advocating for other victims. She feels the defense is wrongly blaming the alleged victim in the case involving Vandenburg.

"It's not her fault regardless of the actions she took," O'Brien said. "It is important that Vanderbilt step up for this victim and be the university it claims to be."

As for the players, in one part of the filing, a Metro Police report claims Miles Finley and Vandenburg while in California were at a party where Finley said Vandenburg slipped a date rape drug into a girl's drink, the filing read.

Miles claimed when Vandenburg realized the drug hadn't dissolved, he took the drink before she realized. Later in the filing are reports that the girl told police she was not aware of the incident, did not know Vandenburg well and did not recall being near him at a party. The police notes suggest Finley's claims about Vandenburg were not true.

Finley's attorney declined to comment.

The defense claims they were denied medical records they were supposed to receive that contained information about the medicine the alleged victim "took in the days leading up to and including the day of the alleged incident and that she had a history of not remembering events and conversations due to drinking which might be reflected in the report."

District Attorney Torry Johnson said in a statement Wednesday, "by circulating unfounded allegations" the defense "not only can taint a potential jury pool but also prevent the State of Tennessee and the victim from obtaining a fair trial."

Also Thursday, a Davidson County prosecutor says Penn State football coach James Franklin did nothing "inappropriate" when he contacted the woman who claims four of Franklin's players at Vanderbilt University raped her last year.

Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday that "there is no indication that coach Franklin did anything inappropriate in this investigation." Thurman says any contact Franklin had with the woman wasn't significant to the case.

Franklin denied wrongdoing earlier this week when attorneys for a former Vanderbilt player charged with raping the woman along with three former teammates accused prosecutors of mishandling evidence in the case.

Thurman says the defense filings are merely an attempt to "intimidate the victim and malign veteran prosecutors."

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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