MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Prosecutors are seeking a gag order in a rape case involving two Spring Hill College students.
In the motion, prosecutors claim public statements made by the defendant, his attorney and the alleged victim have the potential to to generate unwelcome publicity.
Last week, the defense filed a formal response after prosecutors submitted the motion, telling WKRG News 5 in a statement, “We are objecting, as a gag order is an extraordinary request that is not supported by case law and should not be granted. A gag order is what’s called a ‘prior restraint’ and they are disfavored and hard to get because they run counter – at the very least – to the First, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.”
Megan Doggett represents the defendant in this case, Vassil Kokali.
Kokali is being charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and first-degree burglary in relation to the case.
The victim, Audrey Cox, has previously spoken to WKRG News 5 about the incident and says Kokali broke into her dorm room and violently raped her after a night of drinking in March of 2021.
“I went to the bathroom and there was blood. I felt very confused, I was in a fog, I didn’t know what was going on,” said Cox in a previous interview with WKRG.
Kokali has maintained his innocence. His attorney, Megan Doggett, says the sex was consensual.
“The job of the police is to find the truth. They’ll find the truth and after that we’ll have a much better conversation, I’m sure,” Kokali told WKRG News 5 after he bonded out of jail.
Prosecutors did not respond to WKRG News 5’s request for comment about their motion for a gag order.
Doggett says this motion by the prosecution is an attempt to, “control and silence an errant witness.”
“The motion is interesting given the fact that it was Ms. Cox who initiated a scorched earth social media campaign against my client and Spring Hill College, and what was, on my part, a response to the disinformation and hysteria that she is trying to stoke. The extremely prejudicial and inflammatory statements being put out by Ms. Cox at the outset of this case are what prompted my initial response to media questions. The State has known from the beginning that we are following Ms. Cox’s vitriolic and harassing social media postings (which number in the hundreds, perhaps thousands) and I’m sure they’ve asked her to stop but she hasn’t. This is just a back-handed way for the State to attempt control and silence an errant witness and has nothing to do with me or my client.”Megan Doggett, Represents Vassil Kokali
WKRG News 5 reached out to Audrey Cox, the victim in this case who has previously done numerous interviews about the allegations, and she did not respond to our request for comment about the gag order.
The hearing for this motion is set for August 26.