Madison Brooks family hits out at ‘smear campaign’ by alleged attackers as they say ‘this should never happen again’

“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”

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 30 January 2023 15:27 GMT
Related video: New surveillance footage shows Madison Brooks leaving bar before her death

The family attorney of Madison Brooks has criticized the “smear campaign” by the lawyers representing her alleged attackers.

On 15 January, Ms Brooks, a student at Louisiana State University, was struck by a car and killed in Baton Rouge. Before that, she was allegedly raped and abandoned along the road where she was hit by the rideshare vehicle.

Surveillance footage shows Ms Brooks, 19, following the four young men accused of the sexual assault out of Reggie’s Bar, where she is reported to have worked previously, and getting into a car with the suspects.

Brooks family attorney Kerry Miller told WVUE that “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”.

Kavion Washington, 18, faces a charge of third-degree rape, Everett Lee, 20, and Casen Carver, 18, face charges of principle to third-degree rape, and a 17-year-old, unnamed because of his age, faces a charge of rape.

Defence lawyer Ron Haley told the local TV station that “this of course has captured the attention of our city, our state and the nation”.

“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,” he added.

The lawyers representing the suspects – Mr Haley, Joe Long, Ryan Beaulieu, and Dale Glover – organised a press briefing on Friday, saying that they have video footage proving that Mr Washington and the 17-year-old are not guilty.

“The two defendants who engaged in consensual sexual acts with Ms Brooks did so after obtaining verbal consent,” Mr Haley told the press. “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 [of] 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.”

Madison Brooks (circled) is seen running across the road after the four men (WBRZ)

Mr Haley claimed that the defence team has footage showing Ms Brooks speaking to the suspects in the vehicle. The attorneys didn’t reveal when they intend to make the footage public, but said it shows no sexual acts. They noted that it does show that Ms Brooks wasn’t as drunk as previously believed.

The authorities have said that Ms Brooks had a blood alcohol level of .319 – almost four times the legal limit.

The defence lawyers also claimed that security footage from Reggie’s Bar shows that Ms Brooks wasn’t as drunk as investigators have said.

(Madison Brooks/VSCO)

Dr Ronald Andrews, a family medicine physician, told BRPROUD that “anytime you get above 0.25 per cent alcohol that is when you start getting trouble in with your balance, trouble walking straight without assistance”.

“Someone in that state probably needed medical help instead of unfortunately how this story turned out,” he added.

Mr Long, one of the defence lawyers, said during the press conference: “Read the symptoms of a .319 BAC. 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.”

Mr Miller, the Brooks family lawyer, criticized the defence while speaking to WVUE.

“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,” he said. “What the next week and several days are about is letting Madi’s family grieve.”

The office of the district attorney has said that the charges could be upgraded to first-degree rape if supported by the evidence and that a grand jury may be convened. Wether the 17-year-old will be tried as an adult remains unsettled.

“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,” Mr Long of the defence argued.

Mr Miller, who represents the Brooks family, 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.”

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