‘Absolutely shameful;’ Attorney for Madison Brooks’ family questions defense’s motives
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It’s been nearly two weeks since Jan. 15, when LSU student and Covington native Madison Brooks was hit and killed by a car along Burbank Drive.
Before that tragedy, surveillance video shows Brooks following four male suspects out of Reggie’s bar and getting into a car with them. Deputies say she was then raped and dropped off outside of a Baton Rouge subdivision.
“Really the goal of Madi’s mom is to never have this happen again, to never have any family feel the kind of pain she is feeling right now,” Fishman Haygood attorney Kerry Miller said.
Miller is representing Brooks’ family as 18-year-old Kaivon Washington faces a third-degree rape charge, Everett Lee and Casen Carver face principle to third-degree rape charges, and a 17-year-old, who is still in jail, faces a rape charge.
“This of course has captured the attention of our city, our state, and the nation,” defense attorney Ron Haley said. “We do not intend to try this case in the media. We do however intend to state the pertinent facts in this case while being as sensitive as possible with all parties involved.”
Haley, along with Joe Long, Ryan Beaulieu and Dale Glover, represents the four suspects in the case. They held a press conference in Baton Rouge on Friday, arguing that the video they have but have not released proves that Washington and the 17-year-old did nothing wrong.
“The two defendants who engaged in consensual sexual acts with Ms. Brooks did so after obtaining verbal consent,” Haley said. “The way this is being reported and taken out of context from the police report is factually inaccurate. Ms. Brooks asked to be dropped off at a sorority sister’s house in Pelican Lakes. The driver complied. Ms. Brooks left the car on her own volition, saying she would get an uber. She is seen on video leaving the car, unharmed and in good health. This will be confirmed by video at a later date.”
Haley says the defense has a video of Brooks conversing with the suspects in the car. The lawyers did not say when they would release the video, but they say it does not show anything sexual, but it does prove that Brooks was not as intoxicated as previously thought.
The defense attorneys also argue that the surveillance video from Reggie’s Bar that night raises similar questions.
“Read the symptoms of a .319 BAC,” Long said. “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.”
The Brooks’ family lawyer questions their motives.
“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,” Miller said. “What the next week and several days are about is letting Madi’s family grieve.”
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District Attorney Hillar Moore’s Office says there is a possibility, depending on the evidence, that charges could be upgraded to first degree rape. The District Attorney also says there’s a chance a grand jury could be brought in to hear the case. There is also a question of whether the 17-year-old charged in the case could be tried as an adult.
Meanwhile, lawyers on both sides are preparing for the trial, while awaiting more information from police investigators.
“If Ms. Brooks was alive, this would not be a crime. She would not have complained about it at all. The only reason it’s there is because the understandable anger in the community wants someone to pay for her death. And we understand that, but our clients did not do that,” Long said.
“People around her should not have taken advantage of her. They should have protected her. Gotten her home safely. Which is the opposite of what these individuals did,” Miller said.
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