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Vanderbilt rapists ask for retrial because juror failed to disclose he was a rape victim

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Attorneys for two former Vanderbilt University football players convicted of raping an unconscious female student asked a judge on Monday to declare a mistrial, arguing that a juror withheld his own status as a sexual assault survivor to get on the jury.

Prosecutors said the juror did not see himself as a victim in that case, which involved a consensual sexual relationship with an adult male when he was a teenager, and his failure to disclose it should not result in a mistrial.

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Judge Monte Watkins said he expected to rule within eight days on the request from attorneys for Cory Batey, 21, and Brandon Vandenburg, 22, to set aside the January verdict.

Batey and Vandenburg were found guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg also was found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.

Batey’s attorney, Worrick Robinson, said the juror had numerous opportunities during the selection process to disclose his past and concealed the information to get on the jury.

The juror testified that he was against charges being brought against the man 15 years ago and viewed threats the man made after their relationship ended as posturing.

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Prosecutors accused four Vanderbilt players of raping the woman in June 2013, an assault they said was proved by what the defendants recorded on a cellphone.

Jurors heard 12 days of graphic testimony and deliberated less than four hours before returning a verdict. Batey and Vandenburg face up to 30 years in prison each if their convictions stand.

Defense attorneys had argued that Vandenburg and Batey should be found innocent because Batey was too drunk to make a conscious decision about his actions, and Vandenburg was too intoxicated to commit an assault.

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The four Vanderbilt football players accused of rape were kicked off the football team and banned from campus after the charges were filed. Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie are awaiting trial.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by David Bailey and Andrew Hay)


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Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen claim executive privilege concerns in first court appearance

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Rudy Giuliani's henchmen appeared in court on campaign finance violations, and they may attempt to claim evidence in the case is protected by executive privilege.

Ukrainian-American businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested earlier this month on their way out of the country on one-way tickets, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in their first court appearance, according to Courthouse News.

Prosecutors told the court they had issued subpoenas for 50 bank accounts related to the pair.

But an attorney for Parnas told the judge there may be concerns to sort out related to executive privilege due to their relationship with Giuliani, who serves as President Donald Trump's personal attorney.

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‘Looks like the smoking gun’: Meghan McCain less skeptical of impeachment after Bill Taylor testimony

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Meghan McCain gave her strongest indication yet that President Donald Trump was doomed to impeachment, but she was in no mood to talk about it on her birthday.

The conservative host of "The View" turned 35 on Wednesday, a day after former Ukraine ambassador told lawmakers that President Donald Trump had directed efforts to freeze military aid to pressure the foreign ally to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

"This is just killing my vibe," McCain said. "I'm sorry, it's very bad."

"Look, I can't -- I just can't today," McCain said. "I'm so sorry. I would love to stay on this, but it's really bad. It looks like it's highly unethical, and it looks like the smoking gun. That's my political analysis for today. It's my 35th birthday, and I want to move on."

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Watch: All of Trump’s failed defenses for his Ukraine scandal

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CNN's Kate Bolduan on Wednesday reminded her viewers that Trump allies' defenses of the president throughout the Ukraine scandal have continued to evolve after new facts emerge that undercut their older defenses.

While talking with the New Yorker's Susan Glasser, Bolduan delivered an exhaustive list of all the failed defenses that the president and his supporters have made to justify Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.

"First it was the president was trying to root out corruption when it came to Ukraine," she began. "Then it was there was no direct ask coming from the president. Then it was the whistleblower can't be trusted, then it was Schiff helped the whistleblower write the complaint so it can't be trusted, and then it was the president was joking, Republicans said, when he said on camera that he would like to see investigations. Then it was there was no quid pro quo because Ukraine didn't know the aid was being withheld... and now it's the process is unfair, so you can't impeach."

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