Four former Vanderbilt football players pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in a Davidson County Criminal Court in connection with the sex crime charges against them in connection with the on-campus rape of a woman inside a dorm room.
Attorneys for Brandon Banks, Cory Batey, Brandon Vandenburg and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie entered the pleas on behalf of their clients at a brief hearing before Judge Monte Watkins.
The four players have been charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg has also been charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography. All but Vandenburg have been released on bond.
Chris Boyd, who is charged with one felony count of being an accessory after the fact, also had a not guilty plea entered by his attorney in a brief hearing before Judge Steve Dozier.
The players did not appear in court on Wednesday.
Banks, Batey, McKenzie and Vandenburg have been at the center of the investigation that began in June after a reported sexual assault in a Vanderbilt University campus dorm.
Vanderbilt officials then banned the four from campus and kicked them off the football team for what was called a violation of team rules.
Police said the investigation revealed the four allegedly raped an unconscious victim inside Vandenburg's room at Gillette House dormitory in the early morning hours of June 23.
According to the indictment, Vandenburg photographed the victim and distributed that picture.
On Aug. 16, the Davidson County grand jury issued indictments for Boyd and two high school teammates of Vandenburg, Miles Joseph Finley, 19, and Joseph Dominick Quinzio, 20. Finley and Quinzio are each charged with one felony count of tampering with evidence.
Metro police detectives began investigating after they were notified by Vanderbilt University police, who said an unrelated situation captured by the dorm's hallway surveillance system revealed concerning behavior by the suspects.
Originally from Roswell, GA, Chris Boyd is on the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List for the best college football wide receiver in the country.
Vanderbilt suspended him from the football team upon learning of the indictment.
Finley and Quinzio are both in a Riverside County, CA, jail. Judge Dozier set bonds for them at $150,000 each.
Quinzio is fighting his extradition to Tennessee, and he was released upon posting bail after a judge lowered his bond Wednesday in California.
Finley was in court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving on a suspended license. This unrelated case had to be taken care of before an extradition hearing could be scheduled.
Quinzio's attorney, Brett Greenfield, said his client became disturbed when he saw the video that was sent to him via text message.
"This is a good young man, trying to do the right thing, and was initially put in a bad situation. He was scared, didn't know how to react to the situation," Greenfield told the Channel 4 News I-Team.
The attorney for Boyd, who has been suspended from the team pending the investigation, talked with reporters Wednesday afternoon, he says, to set the record straight.
Attorney Roger May said Boyd and his family recently made comments to the media that may have given the perception that the district attorney's office was disingenuous to Boyd. May said that's not the case.
He said they've had several meetings with investigators that the Boyds and May consider fair.
Boyd has been charged with accessory after the fact after he was accused of helping to cover up the alleged rape of an unconscious student inside a campus dorm.
Police claim Boyd gave advice to some of the other four former Vanderbilt football players charged with that alleged rape and sexual battery.
Boyd has pleaded not guilty to the crime, and his attorney said Boyd and his family have been devastated by the accusations.
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