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Brandon Banks trial: Jury views surveillance footage from Vanderbilt dorm

Brandon Banks sits in the courtroom during opening statements on Monday morning. (WSMV) Brandon Banks sits in the courtroom during opening statements on Monday morning. (WSMV)
Brandon Banks' defense attorney delivers her opening statement. (WSMV) Brandon Banks' defense attorney delivers her opening statement. (WSMV)
Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman delivers her opening statement. (WSMV) Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman delivers her opening statement. (WSMV)

Ex-Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks walked into a Davidson County courtroom on Monday to stand trial for his part in the 2013 rape of a female student.

Banks has pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Banks was a redshirt on the Vanderbilt football team that summer. He’s now a 23-year-old man accused of joining his teammates Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Batey and Jaborian McKenzie as they raped an unconscious student inside Vandenburg’s dorm room in Gillette Hall.

The young men recorded much of the assault on their cell phones in photos and videos.

During her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman gave the jury a timeline of events in the case, describing the graphic details of the moments that were caught on camera.

"You’ll see Mr. Vandenburg with camera out and Mr. Banks steps out of the way of that camera shot. He then gets down on the ground and takes out his camera phone and he is just inches from her buttocks," Norman said.

Detectives with the Metro Nashville Police Department later recovered 41 photos and videos that were filmed by the defendants, even though they had already been deleted. Vandenburg texted the images and videos to some of his friends.

"They were all assisting each other in raping [the victim], who was mentally incapacitated and physically helpless," Norman said.

The rest of the incident was captured on the dorm’s security cameras. Campus police found the footage while investigating a vandalism.

Norman described to the jury what they could expect to see while viewing that footage.

"You will see the state that she is in. A state of unconsciousness that she is in, how limp she is, and you will see as he carries her through the front entrance of Gillette Hall," Norman said.

The victim never woke up that night. Prosecutors believed she may have been given a date rape drug by Vandenburg at the Tin Roof bar hours before.

Norman said the woman was in a "confused state" when she woke up around 8 a.m. the next morning. She claims she did not remember anything until that point.

SLIDESHOW: View photos from day 1 of the Brandon Banks trial

Two law enforcement officers testified on Monday about when and how they found out a sexual assault had happened at Gillette Hall.

Capt. Donnie Harville, who was a detective with the Vanderbilt University Police Department in 2013, was called to the stand. He gave the jury a play-by-play of of the surveillance video that shows the moments before and after the sexual assault.

Harville testified that Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and McKenzie were seen carrying the unconscious woman to Vandenburg's dorm room. A portion of the video shows the men dragging the victim by her arms and feet.

Banks stared straight ahead, showing little emotion as the video played on a large monitor in the courtroom.

Detective Jason Mayo was also called to the stand. Mayo is the detective who had to tell the victim that the sexual assault occurred and encouraged her to undergo a rape kit.

Mayo said the young woman told police she wanted to see the photos and videos that the defendants took. He said she was "in shock" when she watched them.

Prosecutors played Banks' interviews with Mayo as he allegedly tried to cover up for his teammates, sticking to the story like nothing happened.

"Me and 'Tip' [McKenzie] were like, this is getting out of hand. It looks bad, we're gone," said Banks in the interview back in 2013.

Mayo wasn't buying what Banks had to say.

"I get what you're doing. You're sticking to the story, not wanting to sell out your teammate," said Mayo in the recording.

Banks' attorneys spent the morning trying to convince jurors that their client isn’t responsible for his teammates’ actions.

Attorney Katie Hagan delivered the opening statement for the defense, pointing out to the jury that the videos will be "unsettling" to watch and that "awful, terrible" things were being done to the victim.

"There is nothing about this case that will be easy," Hagan said.

The defense is urging the jury to put their emotions aside when determining the verdict.

"The state wants you to treat Mr. Brandon Banks the same way as Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg. It will be your job to determine if Mr. Banks was acting under duress, whether he should be held criminally responsible for the acts of Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg," Hagan said.

The defense is not denying that Banks was involved in the incident but claim he was pressured and bullied into going along with it.

Banks will be watching as McKenzie, his former best friend and so-called brother, testifies against him. The state hinted that will happen soon.

“He’ll tell you that him and Brandon Banks, they were roommates, they were best friends. Known each other since they first got to Vanderbilt,” Norman said.

Banks' football career didn't end when he left Vanderbilt. He went on to play football at Lane College in Jackson, TN, despite his pending charges.

Vandenburg and Batey have already been convicted and sentenced to prison in connection with the case.

McKenzie has pleaded not guilty to his charges. He testified in the trials for both Batey and Vandenburg. A date for his trial has not yet been set.

Stay with Channel 4 and for updates from the courtroom.

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