Monday, February 16, 2004

Kobe Bryant arrives late to All-Star game 

Kobe Bryant showed up late to the NBA All-Star game Sunday, missing the team photo and arriving a few minutes after the pregame media availability concluded.

"He called after he was supposed to be here saying he was going to be late," NBA spokesman Tim Andree said.

Bryant, a starter for the Western Conference, entered the locker room at 4:30 p.m. PST -- an hour and 20 minutes before tipoff.

His locker was conspicuously empty during the media availability as dozens of reporters awaited his arrival.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Kobe Bryant Wants Statements Thrown Out 

The day after a concierge complained that he raped her, basketball star Kobe Bryant approached detectives staking out his hotel and shook hands with them, leading to a 75-minute interrogation over the accusations, a court heard on Tuesday.

Bryant's lawyers argued in court that a tape recording of the interview should be thrown out because the 25-year-old Los Angeles Lakers guard was never read his rights by the detectives.

Bryant, who missed Monday's hearing before Eagle County district Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle through an unexplained illness, was present for Tuesday's hearing.

The day's first witness, Eagle County sheriff's detective Douglas Winters, spent nearly three hours on the stand answering detailed questions about whether police obtained Bryant's consent to speak with him.

Defense attorney Hal Haddon went to pains to show that police officers were inept and even had to be told by a judge to get a proper warrant to seize several clothing items belonging to Bryant.

Police obtained a warrant to escort Bryant to a hospital to obtain DNA samples like hair and bodily fluids that investigators need for sexual assault cases.

But such a warrant is very specific, ordering police to find the person during the day and not at night as in Bryant's case. Police are also required to take a suspect to the hospital as quickly as possible and not interrogate the him.

Winters said he was unaware of the provision about daytime hours. Former Denver District Attorney Norm Early who is observing the court proceeding told reporters the daytime rule is to ensure people are not roused out of their sleep.

Bryant spoke with police for about 75 minutes after approaching them in the parking lot of the posh Colorado resort hotel where he was staying, saying "what's up fellas?" and shook their hands, Winters said.

Bryant's bodyguard, Los Angeles police officer Troy Laster, left Bryant with the two detectives in the parking lot.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Bryant defense challenges police procedures 

The lead investigator in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case acknowledged Tuesday under defense questioning that the NBA star was subjected to a pre-dawn hospital examination in violation of state law.

At a pretrial hearing, defense attorney Hal Haddon grilled Eagle County sheriff's Detective Doug Winters about police procedure, pointing out state law calls for hair, fibers and other "non-testimonial evidence" to be obtained during daylight hours. The hospital trip was in the middle of the night.

Winters said he didn't know about that rule. He also admitted that when he obtained a court order, a judge had to remind him he needed a second separate search warrant in order to gather Bryant's clothing.

The judge has barred open-court arguments about what Bryant said to investigators July 2, a day after the alleged rape of a 19-year-old Colorado worker at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera.

But Winters provided a tantalizing glimpse inside the 75-minute interview with Bryant and the subsequent trip to the hospital to collect evidence such as hair and fiber samples.

Bryant's attorneys say prosecutors shouldn't be allowed to use the interview because it was secretly taped and Bryant was never read his rights even though he was, in effect, in custody.

They also want evidence obtained that day - including a Bryant T-shirt stained with the accuser's blood - thrown out.

Winters admitted he had signed an investigation document indicating Bryant had been officially detained, which would have required authorities to advise him of his rights to an attorney and to remain silent.

"It's your testimony today that he was not detained?" Haddon asked.

"It's how you perceive it, but there was an incident that occurred in the room," Winters said. He said the incident in Bryant's room led him to take Bryant to the hospital for the exam.

Bryant, his hand heavily taped after an accident in his garage last week, was back in court after missing Monday's hearing with an undisclosed illness.

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