EAGLE, Colo. – Amid word that prosecutors have uncovered two more potentially damaging witnesses against Kobe Bryant (search), legal experts speculated Sunday that lawyers will need to re-depose a number of witnesses because their accounts have received media attention.
The attorneys, they said, in the sexual assault case against the 24-year-old NBA star must now seek to make certain that the stories of their witnesses have remained consistent and free of embellishment.
"When cameras start focusing on people, they do all kinds of things," University of Denver Law School professor Karen Steinhauser told the Denver Post. "The more opportunity there is for multiple statements, the more statements could be in conflict," added Denver attorney Nathan Chambers.
Late Saturday, word leaked that two people, both co-workers of the 19-year-old alleged victim, had stepped forward to offer their insight as to what may have taken place at the Lodge & Cordillera (search) on the night of June 30.
Fox News has learned that the man who drove the woman home from the hotel that night told investigators she told him she had been "forced to have sex with Kobe Bryant."
The other man told police that the woman was visibly "shocked and upset" after leaving Bryant's room that night. The Los Angeles Lakers (search) star will get his first chance to formally answer the charges on Aug. 6, when he will be arraigned in the court room of Judge Fred Gannett (search). He remains free on $25,000 bond.
Due to security concerns, Eagle County (search) officials have scheduled Bryant's apperance for late in the day, beginning at 4 p.m., well after most of all the other court business for the day will have concluded.
On Saturday night, Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, attended the 2003 Teen Choice Awards (search) in Los Angeles, with Bryant flashing a peace sign to a throng of supporters chanting his name. Bryant has admitted to having had sex with the accuser but denies assaulting her.
The couple, whose attendance was unexpected, stopped on the red carpet at the Universal City Theatre (search) to pose for photos and wave to fans, but did not speak to reporters. The awards show will air on Fox Wednesday evening.
Bryant has made few public appearances since being faced with the assault charges. When he steps into the courtroom on Wednesday, TV viewers across the country will watch as a judge advises the NBA superstar of his rights, the sexual assault charge against him and the possible penalty.
But the high-profile nature of the hearing could help Bryant bolster his tarnished image, especially if he brings his wife, said Stan Goldman, professor at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles. "The fact that he is not sloughing this off might be important."
Bryant probably will respond with "yes" and "no" answers to the judge's questions and be on his way in under 30 minutes.
"In a normal case, this whole matter could take two minutes," said Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor and current defense attorney. "Everybody wants a little show on Aug. 6 and apparently we're going to have one."
Bryant's defense lawyers asked the judge to allow him to skip the hearing, citing it as a common practice in Colorado for out-of-state defendants. Gannett denied the request, saying it's vital for Bryant to appear.
Frank Jackson, a Dallas criminal defense attorney, said celebrity defendants typically skip routine hearings.
Of the judge's decision, Jackson said, "I think it's being a little heavy handed."
Gannett is likely to schedule a preliminary hearing, during which he'll determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial in state district court.
Bryant's attorneys could waive the preliminary hearing, even though they could get a hint at the prosecutor's strategy. Such hearings rarely go in favor of a defendant, and Bryant's attorneys are unlikely to want the alleged victim's allegations detailed in open court, Silverman said.
Fox News' Rita Cosby and The Associated Press contributed to this report.