EAGLE, Colo. – Since his arrest on suspicion of sexual assault, Kobe Bryant (search) has had to wait two weeks to find out whether prosecutors will pursue a case against him.
Bryant was to get his answer Friday, when Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert (search) said he would announce whether he plans to prosecute the Los Angeles Lakers' star.
Hurlbert said Thursday that he would disclose his plans at 3 p.m. (5 p.m. EDT).
Bryant's attorney, Pamela Mackey, has scheduled a news conference at 9 p.m. EDT at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was not known whether Bryant will attend.
Sheriff Joe Hoy (search), elected in November, decided there was enough evidence to arrest Bryant on July 4, even though Hurlbert hadn't made a decision then.
Hurlbert, a former assistant district attorney promoted by the governor in December, has been reviewing the results of tests from the state crime laboratory. Both Bryant and his female accuser, a 19-year-old hotel worker, underwent unspecified medical tests.
Experts say Hurlbert, a 34-year-old Dartmouth graduate who grew up in neighboring Summit County, also has to consider the wishes of the woman and whether she's ready for the intense public scrutiny that would follow the filing of charges.
"I think the district attorney has a decision of a lifetime. It's understandable that he wants to take his time," legal analyst Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor, said Thursday.
Silverman said the tension created by the arrest and subsequent media attention made it tougher for Hurlbert to do his job.
"All of this could have been going on without any public attention if the sheriff had kept his powder dry," instead of arresting Bryant before Hurlbert decided whether to prosecute, Silverman said.
Former Eagle County prosecutor Bruce C. Carey said DNA testing would not be definitive if there is a dispute over whether the alleged sexual contact was consensual. The district attorney would then need to rely on investigations of the backgrounds of Bryant and the woman.
The Vail Daily asked a judge Thursday to order the release of two police reports related to the woman from a month before the alleged attack. The newspaper wants to know if the police reports are relevant to the woman's background and whether investigators have been thorough, Managing Editor Don Rogers said.
The judge gave Eagle's town lawyer until July 25 to submit arguments against releasing the reports.
The case file was previously sealed by a judge.
Until now, Hurlbert's biggest decision as district attorney may have been deciding not to prosecute a British man involved in a fatal skiing collision on March 2.
As an assistant district attorney, Hurlbert won a second-degree murder conviction in 2002 against Chuck Garrison, accused of killing his wife and burying her body in his yard.
Bryant is accused of assaulting the woman on the night of June 30, soon after he checked into the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera outside Edwards. He was in town to have knee surgery at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in nearby Vail. The woman, who worked at the front desk of the hotel, reported the alleged assault the following day.
The woman is well-known in Eagle as a former high school cheerleader and talented musician who auditioned for American Idol last year.
Bryant is a popular player in part because he has shown a dignity many fans feel is lacking in other NBA stars. He frequently appears in television advertising campaigns and has a multimillion-dollar contract with Nike.
He met his wife, Vanessa Laine, in April 2001 and the two were engaged while she was still in high school. Their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born in January.
In his only public comments on the allegation, Bryant told the Los Angeles Times he "would never do something like that."
His lawyer could not be reached for comment Thursday.
If charges were filed, Bryant would have to return to Colorado on Aug. 6.