Kobe Hires Legal Dream Team

Kobe Bryant's (search) legal dream team consists of two low-profile attorneys with a client list that includes JonBenet Ramsey's father (search) and writer Hunter S. Thompson (search).

One of them, Pamela Mackey, knows the prosecutor well and the other, Hal Haddon, ran former Sen. Gary Hart's (search) 1988 presidential campaign.

Colleagues say they are well-respected across Colorado for a meticulous work ethic, and could prove to be a formidable obstacle for prosecutors trying to convict the Los Angeles Lakers (search) superstar of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman.

"Nobody has a better success ratio," longtime Denver criminal defense attorney Robert McAllister said. "They'll leave no stone unturned. No avenue not driven down."

The 24-year-old Bryant is free on bail and is set to appear in court Aug. 6. He is charged with sexually assaulting the woman June 30 in his suite at an exclusive resort about 100 miles west of Denver. Bryant says the sex was consensual.

His attorneys have shied away from the media, refusing interviews with the exception of two brief news conferences.

Mackey and Haddon know Colorado, its laws and what to expect in potential jurors, Loyola University Law School (search) professor Laurie Levenson said.

"The last thing you want is to look like you rode into town with a bunch of city-slick lawyers, especially in a case that may hinge on credibility," she said. "They have to not only believe Kobe but really believe him through his lawyers."

During the prosecutor's news conference detailing the charge last week, Bryant released a statement saying he had committed adultery. His wife, Vanessa, issued her own statement, saying she would stand by her husband.

Two hours later, the couple joined their attorneys at a nationally televised news conference from the Staples Center, where the Lakers play. There, Bryant declared his innocence and tearfully apologized to his wife.

"I thought the public-relations maneuver last week was fairly brilliant," Levenson said. "I think these lawyers respect the fact that the community might not want a high-publicity case."

Both from the Midwest, Haddon, 62, and Mackey, 47, started their careers as public defenders.

Haddon has been in private practice in Denver since the mid-1970s. He represented John Ramsey during a Boulder investigation into the 1996 slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet. Charges were never filed.

"These are very politically connected attorneys in the community and these long-standing relationships pay off," said Lawrence Schiller, who researched the firm for a book he wrote about the slaying.

Mackey, a George Washington University graduate, was a public defender from 1989 to 1994 in Summit County -- about 70 miles west of Denver and in the same judicial district where District Attorney Mark Hurlbert started his law career as an intern in 1993.

The two opposed each other in a case involving a British skier charged in March with negligence in the death of another skier at the Breckenridge ski resort. Charges were dropped.

Mackey also represented Colorado Avalanche (search) goaltender Patrick Roy in a domestic violence case where charges were dismissed.

Haddon helped defend Thompson on charges of sex assault and possession of drugs and explosives in 1990; the case was dismissed.

In the courtroom, Haddon and Mackey have similar styles -- meticulously orchestrating questions and cross-examinations. They're not risk-takers and they do not like surprises, colleagues say.

"I can't think of anybody better in the courtroom," McAllister said. "This is going to be a very easy case for them."

Haddon brought Mackey into the firm a decade ago. Their downtown offices are in a gray-and-white mansion built in 1906 in the French renaissance style.

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (search) and has an art deco lobby with checkered floors and teal-painted French doors leading into conference rooms lit with chandeliers.

A receptionist has been instructed to read the following statement when approached by reporters: "Ms. Mackey and Mr. Haddon are not giving press interviews.

"We've received an overwhelming number of press calls and we simply cannot return them. You are free to leave a voice message but do not expect a return call."

Larry Pozner, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (search), said the two prefer to work out of the spotlight.

"If you're looking for press conferences every afternoon on the courthouse steps, these are the wrong people," he said.