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Rape retrial begins for ex-Vanderbilt football player

Vanderbilt College football player Brandon Vandenburg is shown in this booking photo supplied by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department on August 10, 2013. REUTERS/Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Handout via Reuters/File Photo
Vanderbilt College football player Brandon Vandenburg is shown in this booking photo supplied by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department on August 10, 2013. REUTERS/Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Vandenburg's retrial begins with jury selection on Wednesday, nearly a year after his conviction for the June 2013 rape of an unconscious female student was thrown out.

Vandenburg and former teammate Cory Batey, two of four Vanderbilt football players charged with counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery, were found guilty in January 2015.

But the judge declared a mistrial and the convictions were thrown out because one of the jurors had failed to disclose that he himself had been a victim of rape.

The two men were tried together the first time. This time the trials were separated.

Batey was convicted again in April, with sentencing set for July 13. Aggravated rape carries a sentence of 15-25 years in prison. His attorneys have said they plan to appeal.

The university is in Nashville, but jury selection will take place 200 miles away in Memphis out of concern that impartial jurors would be hard to find in Nashville. Once a jury is selected, the trial will move to Nashville and the jurors will be sequestered.

Batey's jury came from Chattanooga for the same reason.

The victim in the case, which drew national attention to sexual assaults on college campuses, had been drinking with friends and then with Vandenburg and was unconscious during the attack in a dorm room, prosecutors said.

The trials of the last two accused former players, Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are expected to occur after Vandenburg's retrial.

(Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Howard Goller)

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