Affidavit, warrant still sealed in Bryant case
Team Kobe went to the hole and scored Thursday when Eagle County Court Judge Frank Gannett ruled to keep key evidence in Kobe Bryant’s rape case sealed.Gannett’s decision keeps Bryant’s arrest warrant affidavit and an accompanying search warrant affidavit sealed “until judgment is entered” in the case.That means most of the sensational allegations raised by the NBA star’s 19-year-old accuser could remain under wraps until the entire case concludes.”We are very disappointed,” said Christopher P. Beall, a Denver attorney representing the Denver Post, NBC, CNN and other news outlets in the Bryant matter. “We believe it is problematic for the future in terms of the public’s right to future access in this case and others. The decision holds there is not a Constitutional right to access, despite an extensive history of access to such material in Colorado.”Beall could not say if his clients would appeal.Another media attorney who sought to unseal the entire court document had a more positive spin on Gannett’s ruling.”The media did not get what it wanted, some of the high drama is missing, but the judge said he will unseal everything in the file, except the affidavits,” said Vail attorney Rohn Robbins. “But there is a bunch of other stuff in the file and he said all of that will be provided. We will get some of it (information). We will get a sense of what happened, but we don’t really know the supporting facts the juicy details.”Robbins and other media lawyers said the affidavits – information used to establish probable cause of a crime – should have been released to the public. Bryant’s legal team and Eagle County prosecutors wanted all materials linked to the case sealed to limit pre-trial publicity and to protect Bryant’s right to a fair trial.Bryant’s attorneys, Hal Haddon and Pam Mackey could not be reached for comment Thursday.Though he sealed the affidavits which reportedly include graphic details about the alleged rape Gannett authorized the release of Bryant’s arrest warrant. That document could be public before Sept. 1.Prosecutors may challenge that part of Gannett’s decision.”We are evaluating what our next steps will be regarding this ruling,” said Krista Flannigan, spokesperson for the Eagle County District Attorney’s Office.”There is a possibility we may appeal to have it (the arrest warrant) sealed.”Gannett’s order will be stayed for 10 days to allow the parties involved time to appeal.At least one attorney familiar with the case said Gannett handed Bryant a major victory.”The judge is not letting the public see any of the interesting stuff,” said Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor now in private practice. “This is a wash for the media and a win for Team Kobe and for the prosecution. This keeps the dirty details (of the alleged rape) secret.”Silverman said Gannett’s decision dramatically increases the likelihood that Bryant’s defense team will waive their right to a preliminary hearing. One is set for Oct. 9.”Team Kobe will likely waive the hearing for the same reason: they don’t want the details coming out,” Silverman said.In other Kobe news, A 22-year-old Iowa man was arrested Thursday for allegedly telephoning a death threat to the 19-year-old accuser’s home in late July.John William Roche, of Iowa City, Iowa, threatened to “kill” and “stick a coat hanger up your (expletive)…” according to the indictment that was issued on Wednesday.He was arrested at his home Thursday without incident, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney in Denver.Roche is expected to appear in Denver for arraignment at a future date.Roche allegedly called the woman’s Eagle home on July 27 and left threats on an answering machine.”I’ll f—–g stick a coat hanger up your” he said, according to the federal indictment. “I’ll f—–g kill you. I’ll kill you you f—–g bitch.”If convicted, Roche could go to prison for up to five years and fined up to $250,000.
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