Attorneys for the younger males accused of raping an LSU student earlier than she was fatally struck by a automobile sought Friday to solid doubt on bodily proof within the case — a part of what they are saying can be a full-throated protection as they argue the lads’s acts that evening had been consensual.
Protection attorneys cited video of Brooks operating out of Reggie’s bar on the evening of Jan. 14 to argue she was sober sufficient to present consent to 18-year-old Kaivon Washington and an unidentified 17-year-old at the back of a automobile later that evening. Each face fees of third-degree rape.
Police say Brooks’ blood-alcohol content material was 4 occasions the authorized restrict to drive and gave her alcohol poisoning, rendering her incapable of consenting to intercourse, and that an post-mortem confirmed indicators she had been raped.
Ron Haley, who’s representing Washington and 28-year-old Everett Lee within the case, mentioned his shopper obtained verbal consent and took part in a “consensual sexual act.”
Lee and Casen Carver, 18, had been arrested on principal to third-degree rape, accused of sitting within the entrance of the automobile throughout Brooks’ rape.
“We imagine if Miss Brooks was alive, this could not be against the law, she wouldn’t complain about it in any respect,” mentioned Joe Lengthy, Carver’s legal professional.
Brooks had been ingesting at Reggie’s earlier than she left the bar with the 17-year-old and three different males, sheriff’s deputies wrote in an affidavit. The group pulled over after leaving the bar, and the 17-year-old and Washington took turns raping her at the back of the automobile, arrest paperwork say. She couldn’t say the place she lived and the 4 males dropped her off in a subdivision, arrest paperwork say.
Haley disputed that account on Friday as effectively, saying she deliberate to remain at a buddy’s home within the subdivision and mentioned she would name an Uber after being dropped off.
Brooks was hit by a automobile and killed on Burbank Drive shortly earlier than 2:50 a.m.
The case has since drawn nationwide and worldwide headlines and roiled LSU’s campus. College students criticized the administration’s dealing with of Brooks’ rape and loss of life, saying it highlighted a years-long pattern on the college.
After saying they might not strive the case within the media, Haley and different attorneys at a press convention laid out arguments for his or her purchasers’ innocence. The attorneys additionally mentioned they might not but launch movies that they are saying the suspects recorded after the intercourse acts that the attorneys allege assist to indicate Brooks consented.
After seeing the movies, although, District Decide Brad Myers mentioned at a bond listening to this week that the video confirmed the suspects “callously” laughing whereas Brooks slurred her phrases.
The attorneys additionally contend that Brooks’ reported blood-alcohol content material — which arrest paperwork say was .319 and was derived from blood work when she was admitted to the hospital and earlier than she died — is inaccurate. The attorneys plan to rent impartial investigators to overview how medical employees obtained that determine, the attorneys mentioned.
“You’ve got a .319, your motor abilities shut your physique down,” Lengthy mentioned. “You may’t stroll, you’ll be able to’t speak. And also you danger loss of life.”
That argument might show tough to make before a judge. A high-profile Baton Rouge legal professional who has represented purchasers in sexual harassment and sexual assault instances and a retired intercourse crimes prosecutor with over 30 years’ expertise each questioned the authorized technique from the protection attorneys.
“I completely would not have any concept to what protection you can should raping somebody within the backseat of a automobile that has an alcohol blood degree of .319,” mentioned Mary Olive Pierson, who has dealt with each civil and prison instances associated to sexual offenses.
“They’re attacking the strongest proof to attempt to reduce its influence,” mentioned Sue Bernie, the longtime prosecutor within the nineteenth Judicial District Court docket.
To show third-degree rape, prosecutors in Louisiana should set up that the sufferer couldn’t resist due to a stupor or “irregular situation of thoughts” brought on by intoxication; that the rapist was conscious or ought to have been conscious of the sufferer’s intoxication; or just when the rapist acts with out consent, amongst different elements.
Washington mentioned in an preliminary assertion to police that, “once I let you know drunk, drunk, she was drunk,” paperwork say?
Pierson mentioned the makes an attempt to poke holes in Brooks’ blood alcohol content material had been “a wackadoodle protection.”
Instances involving sexual assault victims who’re deceased however didn’t die by murder happen sometimes, Bernie mentioned — posing a singular set of challenges for protection attorneys, who Bernie mentioned run a better danger of showing guilty the sufferer.
“From it strategically, they’ve a really delicate stability to stroll,” she mentioned.