Alleged victim makes surprise appearance
No one turns heads like Kobe Bryant’s alleged victim when she enters the courtroom.
The 19-year-old Eagle woman made a surprise appearance Monday in District Court to observe but not testify, according to district Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan. While she was in there, two expert witnesses, a psychiatrist for the defense and a psychologist for the prosecution were testifying.
The alleged victim made her appearance quickly, through a side door in the hallway about 10 yards from the courtroom door.
She appeared so unexpectedly that reporters hanging in the courthouse hallway weren’t immediately sure who they’d seen.
“It was all coordinated,” said court manager Karen Salaz, when asked if the alleged victim was allowed to be in the courtroom at a specific time. Salas said District Judge Terry Ruckriegle has the final say over who’s allowed in his courtroom, and when.
Cynthia Stone of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault said the alleged victim showed courage to watch while people testifying are probably saying awful things about her.
“It sends a message that she’s involved in the process,” said Stone. “It shows guts do something like that.”
The alleged victim walked into the courtroom at about 3:30 p.m. Monday, accompanied by her attorney, John Clune. As the doors were closing, she settled into the front row of the gallery. She and Clune were in the courtroom for two hours.
When told by one of Bryant’s private investigators that she had entered the courtroom, Bryant’s defense co-counsel Harold Haddon smiled and replied, “What? Oh she is, is she?”
Denver defense attorney Craig Silverman said it’s possible she was there to hear testimony on a defense motion asking to admit information about her drug overdoses and alleged alcohol and drug use.
“It’s possible she was in there only to witness the arguments about the admissibility about her purported suicide attempts and her alleged drug and alcohol use,” said Silverman. “It’s also remotely possible that the prosecution designated her as advisory witness on those issues ” whose presence is essential to help the lawyers present their case.
“It’s a close call, but because it affects her life, the judge might allow it.”