Madison Brooks' family 'blown away' by claims LSU student 'would not have complained' about alleged rape
WARNING: Graphic details in story. The attorney representing the grieving mother of LSU student Madison Brooks, who was allegedly sexually assaulted shortly before her death, said he is "blown away" by claims made by one of the suspect’s representatives, and that the slain sophomore’s family plans to "set the record straight."
Kerry Miller, the Louisiana attorney representing Brooks’ mother, Ashley Baustert, said he is speaking out "in limited circumstances" in an effort to ensure the 19-year-old "is not blamed as a victim."
"She was raped. Rape is rape," Miller told Fox News Digital. "It’s just a horrific, terrible situation. And to the extent that those involved with the alleged rapist want to blame the victim and show up at press conferences and say things … we're standing up for Maddie. That's not right."
He added: "She was a victim of a horrific rape which led to her death."
Related: Madison Brooks cause of death revealed
Miller, from the New Orleans-based law firm Fishman Haygood, spoke to Fox News Digital just days after attorneys representing the four suspects spoke at a press conference on behalf of their clients.
Brooks, 19, died after she was struck by a car in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, in the early morning hours of Jan. 15.
A spokesperson for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office told Fox News Digital the person who struck Brooks is not facing criminal charges, and added that the person "was not impaired and contacted emergency personnel immediately."
Related: Video shows Madison Brooks leaving bar with suspects
Last week, investigators announced they had arrested four males after two had allegedly raped an intoxicated Brooks – while the other two were present – inside a vehicle before dropping her off shortly before she was struck.
Two of the suspects, 18-year-old Kaivon Washington and a 17-year-old suspect who has not been identified, have been charged with third-degree rape. Two more, 18-year-old Casen Carver and 28-year-old Everett Lee, were charged with `being principles to third-degree rape.
In Louisiana, third-degree rape involves sexual intercourse that "is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim," according to state law. Prosecutors have reportedly said they are seeking upgraded charges against the suspects.
During a press conference on Friday, attorneys representing the suspects said the sex was consensual. Attorney Ron Haley reiterated his past arguments that video reflects the suspects’ innocence.
"The two defendants who engaged in consensual sexual acts with Ms. Brooks, did so after obtaining verbal consent," Haley said, according to WVUE-TV. "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."
Joe Long, who represents another one of the suspects, went further, telling reporters, "If Ms. Brooks was alive, this would not be a crime."
"She would not have complained about it at all," Long said, according to the report. "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."
Miller told Fox News Digital he was "blown away" by the comment, and added that the suspects’ own statements to police contradict that claim.
"Their clients gave sworn statements that they raped a young girl who was intoxicated," Miller argued, referring to Long’s comment. "What does he mean by that? That had she not been run over by a car seconds after being dropped off in the middle of the road, that they wouldn’t have come forward and admitted their guilt? … Clearly a crime was committed. And I think that will be proven in court."
Documents related to the four arrests describe how the suspects and the victim had been drinking alcohol at a bar on Bob Pettit Boulevard, called Reggie’s, located roughly one mile from LSU campus.
The four men left the bar with the victim, according to police records. Carver allegedly told police that Brooks "asked for a ride home." "[H]e admitted that he agreed to give her the ride because he did not want to leave her while very intoxicated and the bar was closing."
Carver drove the vehicle, while Lee sat in the front passenger seat, Carver told police. Washington and the minor suspect sat in the back seat with Brooks, according to the police documents. Carver told police that both Washington and the 17-year-old asked Brooks multiple times "if she wanted to have sex," the affidavit states.
He said she consented to Washington and the 17-year-old but added that "he thought the victim was ‘drunker’ and her speech was slurred," according to the affidavit.
He told police that he and Lee, who is Washington's uncle, were still in the vehicle at the time of the sex acts, the affidavit states, but that "he felt uncomfortable and he ‘hated it,’" the document adds.
"During the interview, the co-defendant (Carver) was asked if the victim was too impaired to consent to the sexual intercourse and he replied, ‘I guess,’" the document continues.
During a bond hearing last week, 19th Judicial District Judge Brad Myers said he personally had viewed footage related to the case, according to local news station WAFB-TV.
Specifically, Myers said he watched a video of Brooks and the suspects from inside the vehicle, according to the report. Myers said footage, which was allegedly taken by one of the four suspects, depicted the others "callously" laughing at Brooks, who appeared to slur as she spoke, according to the report.
Myers also saw footage that showed Brooks inside Reggie’s earlier in the night as she struggled to stand up and could be seen falling, WAFB reported. Police records show Brooks had a blood-alcohol content of 0.319% at the time of her death.
Kaivon Washington, one of the two men accused in the alleged rape, was arrested on Friday and accused of a previous sexual assault – a day after he posted $150,000 bond and was released from jail on a third-degree rape charge in the Brooks case.
Washington was 16 at the time of the alleged 2020 assault, and the victim was 12.
Carver and Lee have also been released after posting bond. The 17-year-old is not due in court until February.
As more details about the four suspects come to light, Miller said, the public will see "this was not a chance encounter."
"This investigation is only at its infancy," he said. "The objective here is to hold everyone who was responsible, accountable for what their role was in this."
Visitation and funeral services for Brooks will be held in Covington, Louisiana, on Friday, Feb. 3.
In lieu of flowers, her family is asking that the public make donations to The Madison Brooks Foundation in honor of her "life and legacy."
Read more at FOX News.