Brandon Vandenburg Takes Stand, Asks To Keep Attorney On Case

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Brandon Vandenburg Takes Stand, Asks To Keep Attorney On Case

CREATED Mar 28, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A former Vanderbilt football player accused of being involved in a rape on campus testified Friday that he wanted a California defense attorney to be part of his defense team in the case in Nashville.

Vandenburg testified that he wanted attorney Albert Perez Jr. to be one of his lawyers over the objection of prosecutors. The 20-year-old former player is from California.

Prosecutors earlier filed a motion saying two witnesses made statements saying Perez was directly involved with the destruction or attempted destruction of evidence in the case. Perez has denied the allegations.

Defense attorneys have accused prosecutors of trying to control who gets to represent Vandenburg.

On Monday, one of Vandenburg's other attorneys, John Herbison, filed another motion in criminal court. It asked the Davidson County District Attorney General's Office step down from the case.

"Prosecutors have a duty not only to the state, but to the court and to the defendants to be fair and that has not happened here," said Herbison.

The motion argues that prosecutors led by Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman have threatened witnesses and even felony extortion involving defendants. Herbison wants the prosecutors removed from the case or the charges dropped against Vandenburg.

The District Attorney's office issued a response to the motion: "We strongly deny these baseless allegations and deny any inappropriate conduct in this case. As we have said from the beginning, the appropriate time and place to respond to these motions is in court."

Vandenburg is charged with rape along with three other former players in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a unconcscious student inside a campus dorm last June. A trial date is set for August.

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(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)