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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Kobe Bryant's Accusser Checks into Medical Center 

The woman accusing Kobe Bryant of sexual assault checked into a medical treatment center to help her escape relentless media and threats, the Vail Daily reported Wednesday.

The 19-year-old woman's family made the decision at some point after the alleged assault at the resort hotel where she worked and where Bryant stayed June 30, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.

The report did not say when she checked into the center and what kind of treatment was sought.

John Clune, the woman's attorney, did not return a call for comment. Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to comment, but said prosecutors were not concerned about such reports influencing potential jurors.

"We believe that we have an intelligent jury pool in Eagle County and everything at this point is all allegations," she said. "We believe the jury's going to wait until they hear the actual facts in the trial."

Bryant, 25, is accused of assaulting the woman in his hotel room. Free on $25,000 bond, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted. He has said the two had consensual sex.

Friends have said the woman has been treated twice in the past year after attempting suicide: Once in February, when she was a student at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and again in May when she was living in Eagle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Kobe HIV test wanted 

ESPN.com - NBA - Report: Kobe HIV test wanted

Prosecutors in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case have filed a motion asking a judge to order the NBA star undergo testing for the virus that causes AIDS, a television station reported.

The motion was filed under seal and the judge has not ruled, KCNC-TV in Denver reported Tuesday night, citing unnamed sources.

Neither the district attorney's spokeswoman nor Bryant's attorney returned telephone messages from The Associated Press late Tuesday.

Bryant, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman on June 30 at an Edwards hotel where she worked and he was a guest. He has said they had consensual sex.

Colorado law requires anyone charged with a crime involving sexual penetration to be tested for HIV if the suspect is ordered to stand trial after a preliminary hearing.

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, causes AIDS.

Bryant has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of sexual assault. He faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted.


Monday, November 17, 2003

First real battles looming in Kobe Bryant case 

Let the paper war begin: The judge in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case has given attorneys a month to outline issues that could play a key role at trial, from medical histories to rape kit evidence.

Winning the fight over evidence and testimony is crucial when it comes to convincing jurors the Los Angeles Lakers star is guilty or innocent.

"Team Kobe's biggest worry now is a hung jury," said Denver attorney Craig Silverman, a former prosecutor. "After the preliminary hearing, it doesn't look like 12 people would convict him. At the same time, it's very hard to convince all 12 people to vote not guilty. If he wins these motions hearings, it could reduce the likelihood of a hung jury."

During Bryant's initial appearance in state court Thursday, the judge gave attorneys 30 days to file formal requests. Legal experts expect the defense to try to limit evidence and to set ground rules for expert witnesses.

More important will be evidence the defense wants to ensure goes before a jury, Loyola Law School-Los Angeles professor Stan Goldman said.

He said the defense will want to argue that Bryant's 19-year-old accuser was mentally and emotionally unstable, that she was promiscuous and that she expected Bryant to make sexual advances. Prosecutors have indicated they will try to keep such evidence away from the jury.

"In my opinion, that is the far more relevant and potentially compelling evidence -- if true -- about why in this he-said, she-said context we should believe he instead of she," Goldman said Friday.

Bryant, 25, is accused of raping the woman at the posh hotel where she worked and he was a guest June 30. Free on $25,000 bond, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Bryant to make first appearance before trial judge 

Kobe Bryant will be back in a Colorado courtroom Thursday for his first hearing before the judge that will preside over his sexual assault trial.

During his initial appearance in Eagle County District Court, the Los Angeles Lakers' guard is expected to be formally advised of the charge against him, his rights and the penalty he faces if convicted.

Judge Terry Ruckriegle also could adjust Bryant's $25,000 bond and set dates for upcoming hearings, including an arraignment. Bryant could enter a plea, though that isn't expected.

Both sides typically discuss plea arrangements in advance with the judge, but those conversations haven't occurred, prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said Wednesday. After a plea, a trial must be scheduled within six months.

Attorney Dan Recht, past president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, said Bryant's attorneys probably will ask for an arraignment later this year to delay the start of the trial.

"My guess is the defense wants the trial to start after the basketball season," Recht said.

Bryant, 25, is accused of raping a 19-year-old woman June 30 at a mountain resort near Edwards where she worked and he was a guest. Bryant says the two had consensual sex.

If convicted, Bryant would face four years to life in prison and 20 years to life on probation.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Kobe Scores 31 in Lakers Win Over Bucks 

Kobe Bryant said his rift with Shaquille O'Neal is history, he doesn't hear the jeers and his knee feels fine.

Want proof? How about 31 points in 40 minutes, including two crucial 3-pointers in the Los Angeles Lakers' 113-107 comeback victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

"He took some tough shots, he played well, he carried us in the fourth quarter," said O'Neal, who scored 23 points and agreed the pair's well-documented clash was over.

"Sometimes he's going to carry us. Sometimes I'm going to carry us. Sometimes Gary Payton or Karl Malone is going to carry us. He stepped up tonight."

O'Neal and Bryant traded barbs in the last two weeks, both claiming this was their team. On Tuesday, they were ready to share it, particularly with Payton and Malone, who joined them for a shot at an elusive championship.

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Saturday, November 01, 2003

Stores Yank Paper Showing Kobe Bryant's Accuser  

Colorado's two largest grocery chains yanked copies of a supermarket tabloid featuring a front-page photo and the name of the woman who alleges she was raped by basketball star Kobe Bryant.

King Soopers and its sister chain, City Market _ which has a store in Eagle, the hometown of the 19-year-old accuser _ pulled this week's Globe off check-out racks at stores in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado on Friday.

Safeway said it will not carry the issue at all.

The Globe's cover page shows a photo taken of the woman, reportedly at her high school prom, and the headline "Did she really say no?" It also displays her name.

"We made the decision to pull it from the racks so that customers would not be forced to view it as they went through the check-out lanes," said Trail Daugherty, a spokesman for King Soopers and City Market.

Daugherty said those who want to buy the issue can do so at customer service counters. "We've never seen our role as a retailer to be a censor," he said.

Safeway spokesman Jeff Stroh told the Rocky Mountain News that company officials did not want to "participate in disclosing an alleged victim's name and photograph." He did not return calls Friday seeking additional details, including whether the decision applied only to Colorado stores.

News organizations, including The Associated Press, have not disclosed the accuser's name or shown her picture. The Globe's decision drew sharp criticism.

"It is still the main reason women don't report (assault)," said Cynthia Stone, spokeswoman for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The group wants retailers to pull the issue.

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