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Family Of LSU Student Killed Following Alleged Rape Slams Defendants' 'Smear Campaign'
Attorneys representing four males charged in connection to LSU student Madison Brooks' rape case claim they possess video showing the victim wasn't as inebriated as blood tests allegedly showed.
An attorney representing the grieving family of Madison Brooks is calling tactics by the defense “shameful.”
Brooks, a 19-year-old Louisiana State University sophomore, was fatally struck by a car in the early morning hours of Jan. 16. Investigators claimed Brooks was dumped on the side of an unlit East Baton Rouge road by four males charged in connection to her alleged rape earlier in the evening.
Two of the suspects — Kaivon Washington, 18, and an unnamed 17-year-old male — are charged with third-degree rape because blood tests allegedly showed Brooks had nearly four times the legal alcohol limit after a night of heavy drinking, meaning she legally could not consent to engage in sexual activity.
Casen Carver, 18, and Kaivon Washington’s cousin, Everett Lee, 28, are charged with being principles to the rape. According to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com, Carver and Lee remained in the front seat while Washington and the minor allegedly took turns assaulting Brooks.
The suspects’ defense attorneys have called the acts between Brooks and the suspects legally “consensual" and claim that an alleged video from the evening proves there was no wrongdoing on their clients’ part, CBS Baton Rouge affiliate WAFB reports. Those who possess the alleged video say that, while it does not depict the alleged sexual assault, it does call into question the victim’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), which investigators previously said was .314.
The video has not been publicly released.
Another video, however, has been publicized, allegedly showing Brooks leaving Reggie’s Bar shortly before the alleged sexual assault. The footage shows someone — presumably Brooks — running after the four males as they cross the street.
Defense attorney Joe Long — who represents Carver — said during a press conference on Friday that the bar video allegedly proves Brooks wasn’t as intoxicated as initially reported in the affidavit, according to WAFB.
“Read the symptoms of a .319 BAC,” said Long. “The evidence we’ve seen so far in the video of Ms. Brooks running across the streets from Reggie’s undermines the police version of events. Until our experts can look at what happened, we believe that the BAC they are saying is inaccurate.”
A BAC of .319 could have signaled blood poisoning and lack of consciousness, according to studies by the University of Notre Dame, which East Baton Rouge officials cited in the affidavit.
Brooks' family condemned the defense's allegations.
“To come out to mention evidence that they have and don’t show it, to contradict a gold-standard blood alcohol test and not say on what basis they are doing it, it is a made-up smear campaign; absolutely shameful,” said Fishman Haygood attorney Kerry Miller, representing Madison Brooks’ family. “That the next week and several days are about is letting Madi’s family grieve.”
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore claims the case may go before a grand jury, which could charge the suspects with first-degree rape, according to WAFB. The 17-year-old minor may also be tried as an adult.
Washington, Carver and Lee have already bonded out of jail, while the 17-year-old minor remains behind bars, according to WAFB. ABC Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ reported the adult suspects were ordered to wear ankle monitors and remain under house arrest.
However, Washington was re-arrested on Friday on charges of first-degree rape for the alleged 2020 rape of a 12-year-old girl, a case renewed following the high-profile status of Brooks’ death, according to CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV.
He is accused of forcing himself on the child following a 2020 pool party in Walker, Louisiana, according to the Advocate. Washington — who would have been 16 when the alleged attack occurred— previously denied the accusations, according to WBRZ.
The bar where the young people had been drinking on the night of Brooks' death is also faces consequences.
LSU President William F. Tate IV had announced an “action plan” to investigate whether underage drinking occurred at Reggie’s Bar prior to the alleged rape and death.
The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control announced that it was stripping the bar of its liquor license in the wake of the student's death, following an initial emergency suspension, according to NBC New Orleans affiliate WDSU.