Ex-Vanderbilt football player intends to plead not guilty - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Ex-Vanderbilt football player intends to plead not guilty

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Jaborian McKenzie, left, leaves Metro Jail after posting bond. Jaborian McKenzie, left, leaves Metro Jail after posting bond.
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    Friday, August 9 2013 4:59 PM EDT2013-08-09 20:59:10 GMT
    The investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving four Vanderbilt football players continues, and evidence has been submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.More >
    The investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving four Vanderbilt football players continues, and evidence has been submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.More >
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

One of the four former Vanderbilt football players charged with rape has waived the right to appear at his arraignment and intends to enter a not guilty plea.

Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, MS, along with three other ex-players, allegedly raped an unconscious student at a campus dormitory in June.

Also charged are 20-year-old Brandon Vandenburg, of Indio, CA; 19-year-old Cory Batey, of Nashville; and 19-year-old Brandon Banks, of Brandywine, MD.

McKenzie and Banks are currently free on bond.

Authorities say the investigation of the June 23 incident at the Gillette House dormitory is ongoing.

The players were dismissed from the team June 29.

McKenzie's plea was entered on Tuesday at the criminal court in Nashville. Arraignment for all four is scheduled for Aug. 21.

McKenzie is out of jail on a much lower bond than his fellow co-defendants. One of the city's top criminal attorneys, who is not involved in the case, thinks there is a reason for that.

"That indicates to me that the person is probably cooperating with the government, and some sort of plea agreement might be in the offering somewhere down the road," said legal expert David Raybin.

Raybin suspects there may be even more to it.

It was the district attorney's office that recommended McKenzie's bond be set at $50,000 - far less than his fellow former teammates.

"What is significant to me, is that there was an agreed bond reduction, indicating that the person will probably testify against the other defendants," Raybin said.

There could be a strategy at play on the part of prosecutors, and it has to do with the troubling allegations in the case.

The female student was unconscious when the alleged rape occurred, so Raybin wonders if someone who was there will also be needed to testify.

"In this case, you have an unconscious victim, who may not know who the alleged perpetrators are, and if you have someone who participated who will testify against the others, that makes the government's case even stronger," Raybin said.

As for McKenzie himself, his attorney isn't saying what role he could play if the case goes to trial.

"On behalf of Mr. McKenzie, out of respect for the victim, in light of the pending litigation, and the ongoing investigation, we are not making any comment at this time," said attorney Jodie Bell.

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