Many Americans are not jumping to judge Kobe Bryant (search). A plurality says they are unsure of the professional basketball player's guilt or innocence on the sexual assault charge, and those with an opinion are about evenly divided between innocent and guilty.  Most do think Bryant can get a fair trial even with the amount of media attention the case has received.

In the latest FOX News national poll, conducted August 12-13 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, 31 percent of Americans believe Bryant is innocent of the assault charge and 27 percent say the Los Angeles Lakers (search) player is guilty, while the remaining 42 percent are withholding judgment.

The Colorado district attorney filed a sexual assault charge against Bryant in early July, and since then Bryant has admitted to committing adultery but says he is "innocent of the charges."  Slightly more men than women believe Bryant is not guilty, and by just over 10 percentage points blacks are more likely than whites to believe he is innocent of the charge. 

Although there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage given to the case, nearly half (47 percent) of the public think the professional basketball star can get a fair trial, but 37 percent disagree.

Polling was conducted by telephone August 12-13, 2003 in the evenings. The total sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. 

1. As you may know, professional basketball player Kobe Bryant has been charged with sexual assault. Based on what you’ve heard so far, do you believe Bryant is guilty or not guilty of these charges?

All Men Women Whites Blacks*
1. Guilty 27% 25% 29% 29% 18%
2. Not guilty/(Innocent) 31 36 27 29 42
3. (Not sure) 42 39 44 42 40

                       * small sample size

2. Given the amount of media coverage, do you think Kobe Bryant can get a fair trial?

All Men Women Whites Blacks*
1. Yes 47% 49% 45% 48% 40%
2. No 37 36 38 36 42
3. (Not sure) 16 15 17 16 18

                              * small sample size