BROOKLYN - Four of the five Brooklyn teens accused of raping an 18-year-old woman at a Brownsville playground last week appeared in court Friday.
The Brooklyn DA's Office says the court hearing was to remind the teens that charges of rape and sexual assault remain pending after they were released Thursday because prosecutors could not secure a timely indictment.
Police arrested 14-year-old Denzel Murray, two 15-year-olds, Shaquell Cooper and Ethan Phillip, and two 17-year-olds, Onandi Brown and Travis Beckford, in connection with the alleged gang rape inside Osborn Playground on Jan. 7. They were charged as adults.
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Cooper remains in police custody on an unrelated assault charge from Oct. 15.
Investigators say the victim's father told them that the teens chased him away with a gun and gang raped his 18-year-old daughter.
Police say the teens took turns assaulting the woman while her father sought help.
A lawyer for Phillip says cellphone video taken by one of the teens before the alleged rape is evidence that the teens did not commit a crime.
The DA's office says it is reviewing the cellphone video. News 12 has previously reported that it appears to show the woman laughing with the teens before the alleged attack.
Murray's lawyer also expressed confidence in the defense case.
"They're looking at this, and they're being prudent," says Kenneth Montgomery, Murray's defense attorney. "I think when you look at what they have, Mr. Murray is going to be exonerated."
Some of the accused teens told police that they saw the father and daughter drinking and having sex in the playground – a claim the father denies.
Police have not recovered a gun in connection with the case.
The court has until July 29 to indict the five teens or the charges could be dismissed.