Former Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Banks, who faces charges for allegedly sexually assaulting an unconscious woman with a water bottle, has said he was pressured into the act by a teammate, according to his defense attorney.
Katie Hagan, Banks' lawyer, claims the now 23-year-old was bullied into carrying out the alleged assault in 2013, for which he now faces five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The incident was documented in part on his cell phone, Daily Mail reports.
Hagan argued that Banks was "pressured and goaded" by the victim's then-boyfriend, Brandon Vandenburg, his teammate at Vanderbilt. Jaborian "Tip" Mckenzie, another teammate, has also been accused in the case, but it is unclear whether he will stand trial.
Vandenburg has already been sentenced to 17 years in prison for the attack, while teammate Corey Batey has received a 15-year sentence.
The victim, who was 21 at the time, said she had no recollection of what happened that evening. According to prosecutors, the last thing the woman remembered was Vandenberg handing her a blue-colored drink in a bar.
Hagan told the jury that the evidence shown in the trial would be upsetting, WKRN reports.
"You are going to see some things in the photographs and videos about Brandon Banks that are going to make you mad at him and they are going to make you dislike him," she said. "But despite those things, the proof in this case will show you that Brandon Banks is not guilty of the crimes he is charged with in this incitement."
The prosecution argued that Banks was a willing participant in the attack.
"You will hear that during the whole process, the whole incident, they are encouraging each other," said Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman. "They are memorializing each other’s accomplishments."
In a surveillance video, Vandenburg was seen carrying the woman into his dorm room with the other players, where he gave them condoms and encouraged them in the alleged rape. Prosecutors said that Vandenberg also took videos of the attack on a cell phone, which he sent to friends in California.
The players can reportedly be seen laughing and cheering in the video footage.
The victim is expected to testify against Banks, which will be her fifth time testifying about the incident.
The attack was discovered by Vanderbilt University police investigating vandalism in a dorm, who saw the security footage of the men carrying the victim into Vandenburg's room.
Banks is reported to have told assistant dean of student conduct G.L. Black that he had not assaulted the victim, and had merely placed a towel under her face in case of her getting sick. He reportedly told detective Jason Mayo a similar story, according to the Tennessean.
"I know some things went on in the room," Mayo says in a recording of an interview with Banks. "The question is, who is going to man up? Who is going to be responsible and tell the truth?"
In July 2013, a Nashville police officer found a large number of video clips and thumbnail images of the rape. According to detective Chad Gish, the images show Banks and Batey assaulting the unconscious and partially naked woman on the dorm room floor.