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FAMU hazing history allowed to be mentioned at drum major death trial

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ORLANDO, Florida — A judge denied defense motions to drop manslaughter charges against four former Florida A & M band members facing trial next week for the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

Judge Rene Roche on Wednesday also denied a defense motion challenging the constitutionality of Florida's anti-hazing law.

During a pretrial hearing, the judge said prosecutors can bring up past hazing among band members, but she ruled there should be no mention that Champion was gay. Defense attorneys and prosecutors agreed no band members say Champion's sexual orientation played a role in the hazing.

Fifteen defendants were charged after Champion died following a hazing ritual aboard a band bus in November 2011.

All but four had their cases settled and the remaining defendants go to trial next week.

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