Prosecutor lays out case against Bryant

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2003

EAGLE, Colo. A prosecutor outlined the sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant for the first time Wednesday, saying there are photographs of injuries to the woman and a videotaped statement from her.

In a court brief, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he planned to present the evidence at the Oct. 9 preliminary hearing that will determine whether the NBA All-Star will stand trial.

Hurlbert also said the main investigator in the case will testify.

While detailing his evidence, Hurlbert also asked the judge to throw out a defense subpoena calling for the accuser to testify. Hurlbert said testifying at the hearing would subject the 19-year-old woman to needless ''anxiety and intimidation.''

The defense can instead question investigators about the accuser, the prosecutor said.

Bryant's attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Hal Haddon, did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

Bryant is charged with sexually assaulting the woman June 30 in his suite at a nearby mountain resort. She worked there, and Bryant was staying there while in Colorado for knee surgery. Bryant has said they had consensual sex.

The Los Angeles Lakers' star is free on $25,000 bond pending the October hearing.

The brief marked the first time Hurlbert offered a glimpse of the evidence in the case, including the photos, the video and what he called an ''electronically enhanced'' version of Bryant's interview with investigators.

Bryant's statement will corroborate the accuser's statement and ''provide direct evidence to many of the elements of the offense charged,'' Hurlbert said.

Hurlbert said he will present information from a nurse about injuries shown in the photographs taken during a medical examination of the accuser. Eagle County sheriff's Detective Doug Winters, the key investigator, also will testify.

Denver defense attorney Craig Silverman, a former prosecutor, said the evidence mentioned in the brief appears to be enough to convince a judge to order a trial. However, Silverman also said Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett may want to hear from the accuser in court.

''He can't decide the case in a vacuum,'' Silverman said. ''The defense will argue that sex occurred. The whole issue is consent, and the only person who can meaningfully talk about this is the accuser.''

Hurlbert also told the judge the accuser has moved away from Eagle. He said she would have to travel half a day to return for the hearing and it would require her to miss one-to-two days of work.



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