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Trial For 2 Vanderbilt Rape Suspects Delayed To November

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Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

Trial For 2 Vanderbilt Rape Suspects Delayed To November

CREATED Aug 1, 2014 - UPDATED: Aug 1, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The trial for two former Vanderbilt football players accused of an on-campus rape has been delayed to November 3.

Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey initially had their trials scheduled for August 11, but Judge Monte Watkins pushed those back during a motions hearing on Friday.

Batey was in court for a 1 p.m. motions hearing, while Vandenburg joined by phone from California.

Vandenburg’s lawyers had filed a motion that asked for the trial to be delayed, claiming they still have not received all discovery evidence from the prosecution. They also may want to separate Vandenburg’s trial from the other defendants.

Friday's hearing was at times heated, with an exchange between defense attorney John Herbison and Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman.

"Your honor I learned 26 years ago when I first saw Tom Thurman try a case that he didn't care whether the state's witnesses told the truth or not," claimed Herbison.

Thurman objected, calling the claims, "ridiculous," and asked for Herbison to be held in contempt of court. Judge Watkins issued a warning to Herbison to behave himself or there would be contempt charges. 

In the end, Watkins sided with the defense and moved the trial to November. 

The high-profile trial would have come at a time of transition in the District Attorney's office with Torry Johnson leaving to be replaced by new district attorney Glenn Funk on September 1.

"It's very common in criminal cases with lots of defendants and charges that it could be continued not once, but two or three times," said NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

Last August, officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department arrested Vandenburg and Batey, along with Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks, after they were indicted on five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Police said they raped an unconscious victim inside Vandenburg's room at his Gillette House dorm in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 23, 2013. The university was made aware of the situation when officials observing the dorm's hallway surveillance recordings for an unrelated situation saw concerning behavior by the defendants.

Vanderbilt dismissed the players June 29, 2013, and kicked them off campus, pending the investigation by the Metro Nashville Police Department's sex crimes unit.

Three other men also faced charges in connection with the incident, including Vanderbilt student and former Commodore wide receiver Chris Boyd.

In September 2013, Boyd was dismissed from the football team, but allowed to stay in school after entering a conditional guilty plea to a role in attempting to cover up the rape. Boyd received an 11-month, 29-day suspended sentence for criminal attempt to commit accessory after the fact, a misdemeanor. The initial charge was a felony.

If he completes probation, his record will be cleared. As part of the plea, he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to help build the case against the four former football players charged with rape.