Grand jury set to hear case involving Madison Brooks; video may play key role
BATON ROUGE- In two days, a grand jury will convene in Baton Rouge to hear the case against three men booked with the alleged rape of LSU sophomore Madison Brooks.
A fourth suspect who was arrested is underage, and his case is being handled in juvenile court.
Grand jury proceedings are secret, and those involved are barred from discussing what happens in those closed-door sessions. An indictment would likely keep each of the adult suspects on a path toward trial.
Failure to indict could mean dismissal of all charges stemming from the Jan. 15th incident.
On Monday, defense lawyers provided the WBRZ Investigative Unit with a 29-second clip of video that they believe exonerates the accused. The video was recorded just before Brooks gets out of a car in which the alleged rapes took place.
Defense lawyers say it was recorded after two of their clients and Brooks engaged in sexual acts -- consensually.
"I'm sorry that I offended you that bad," Brooks can be heard telling the others in the vehicle. "Get out, get out. I will Uber on my own."
The video shows Brooks exiting the car. She calls the driver "gay" as she gets out.
Detectives do not believe the driver was a participant in sexual acts with Brooks, but have booked him with accessory to rape.
"Speaking, engaging in conversations ... very vulgar language to the driver of the vehicle," attorney Ron Haley said in describing the video. "Implying that he's not straight based on him not wanting to engage in certain activities with her. It doesn't put anyone in the best light, but again, not being put in the best light isn't the same thing as rape."
Investigators have said Brooks was too drunk to consent, and they arrested the teenager and three young men on rape and related charges. Lab reports show Brooks' blood-alcohol level was .319. A lawyer representing Brooks' family says there is no gray area in this case.
"Under Louisiana law, this is rape," Kerry Miller told the Investigative Unit. "We were deeply offended by blaming the victim, and statements regarding if she hadn't been hit she wouldn't be complaining of things. We thought that was deeply offensive and plain wrong."
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore has echoed those sentiments.
"It's just like we handle murder cases (that) don't have murder victims to say 'I didn't consent to being killed or shot at,'" Moore said recently.
Lawyers representing three of those charged said their clients maintain their innocence.
Arrest reports reviewed by the Investigative Unit make no mention of the video in which Brooks indicates she would call for a ride and in which she interacts with those in the vehicle. Defense lawyers said they do believe detectives who investigated the case have viewed the recording.
Moore said he could not comment on matters that are related to the grand jury proceedings.
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