Reporting Marissa Bailey
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The lead singer for Sugarland, in a portion of a videotaped deposition released Monday, says the band was not responsible for canceling a concert last summer before high winds blew down an outdoor stage and caused the deaths of seven people.
Jennifer Nettles gave a six-hour deposition last week as part of a civil lawsuit, describing her memories from that night and what she thought of the impending storm that descended on the Indiana State Fair.
An attorney who represents some of the victims released a segment of the interview.
Nettles and fellow band member Kristian Bush were deposed.
They say they had no idea how bad the weather would be the night of Aug. 13, 2011.
Ken Allen represents six of the 60 people injured in the stage collapse and says releasing the depositions was necessary.
“If we can persuade the band members and their management to be forthright and to be candid, then that will help the case,” he tells CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey.
At one point in the deposition, Allen asks Nettles: “Is it your position that neither you nor your management had no responsibility whatsoever for the safety of your fans that evening?”
“Yes, typically we’re invited to come in to a place and play. It’s not our place,” she replies.
At another point, Nettles says: “I don’t feel it’s my responsibility or my managements’ responsibility to evacuate the fans in the case of danger … Do I care about (fans’) safety? Absolutely.”
“Did you care enough to postpone the event on August 13th, 2011, until the storm blew past?” Allen asks.
“I didn’t know about it, and it’s not my responsibility,” the band member says.
Bill Johnson, the band’s attorney, says “someone is trying to poison the well” in the civil case against Sugarland and influence potential jurors.
“The bottom line on those depositions is (band members) were underneath the stage when this went on. They weren’t told that there was any risk, they weren’t advised by anyone that there may be a risk,” Johnson says. “There was a statement that there may be rain.”
He said he expects the case to go to trial.