Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Prosecutors Still Deciding Whether to Charge Kobe Bryant in Sexual Assault Case

Prosecutors said Monday it could be days before they decide whether to charge Kobe Bryant (search), the Los Angeles Lakers' guard accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a hotel last week.

"Sometimes it takes a while," Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert (searchsaid. "It may be beyond the end of the week."

He refused to discuss details of the allegations against the basketball star, saying only that the alleged victim was an adult.

"I have talked with her and she seems to be doing OK considering the circumstances," he said.

According to an arrest warrant alleging felony sexual assault, the 24-year-old Bryant attacked an unidentified woman on June 30.

Authorities would say only that the alleged attack took place at a hotel. The location was not disclosed, but a bellman at the upscale Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in nearby Edwards said Bryant was a guest there June 30 and July 1.

Bryant was in Colorado for surgery on his right knee at Vail's Steadman Hawkins Clinic, his attorney said. Bryant turned himself in to authorities on Friday, and the married father of one was released the same day after posting $25,000 bond.

Bryant's attorney accused the sheriff's office of rushing the case against the advice of prosecutors.

"Mr. Bryant is innocent and expects to be completely exonerated," attorney Pamela Mackey said in a statement.

Mackey accused the sheriff's office of "complete bias" and said it ignored the wishes of the district attorney in obtaining the arrest warrant.

"We were told that the matter was under consideration by the district attorney's office but that there was insufficient information to issue a warrant or to file charges," she said. "Contrary to the direct instruction of the district attorney's office, the Eagle County sheriff's office sought and obtained an arrest warrant."

Mackey did not return calls seeking elaboration. Lakers (search) general manager Mitch Kupchak said the allegations were completely out of character for Bryant.

The sheriff's office sought the arrest warrant directly from a judge, instead of making the request through the district attorney, which is the usual practice. Only the district attorney's office can file charges.

Hurlbert said he was aware of the case, but didn't know why authorities did not come through him for the warrant. Standing a few feet away from Sheriff Joe Hoy, he declined to comment when asked whether he thought bringing charges was a good idea.

"What's done is done," he said.

Kim Andree, spokeswoman for the sheriff, said it is not unusual for authorities to go directly to a judge. She dismissed speculation of a rift between prosecutors and the sheriff's office.

Scott Robinson, a Denver criminal defense attorney, said it is unusual in a high-profile case for investigators to obtain an arrest warrant without the consent of prosecutors.

Since entering the NBA straight from high school at the age of 18, Bryant has been feted as one the league's greatest players. He was a star when Los Angeles won three consecutive titles from 2000-02 and he was the MVP of the 2002 All-Star game.

Bryant has often shown dignity and heart many fans feel are missing from other NBA stars. Bryant -- who speaks fluent Italian and scored 1080 on his SATs -- is frequently seen on television in advertising campaigns.

He married his wife, Vanessa Laine, in 2001. Their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born in January.