Bellman in Bryant case speaks out |

Bellman in Bryant case speaks out

Bob Pietrack walked in the front door of the Eagle County courthouse Wednesday with the confidence of an athlete who already had the game in the win column.

Pietrack, a key witness in the Kobe Bryant rape case, testified during a hearing to determine what, if any, of Bryant’s alleged victim’s sexual history would be made available to the jury. He said as he flew into Eagle for the hearing, he decided to walk head-on into the belly of the beast. There would be no side entrances for him.

“I use the front door,” said Pietrack. “This is my home town. You don’t go in the back door of your home town, especially if you’re telling the truth.”

So far, Pietrack has been the subject of endless speculation and conjecture. Working as the bellman at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera the night June 30, he was the first person to whom Bryant’s alleged victim told her version of the events in Bryant’s hotel suite.

He said both sides were fair in their questioning during Wednesday’s hearing, and although the exchanges between prosecutors and defense attorneys sometimes grew heated, Pietrack said District Judge Terry Ruckriegle had control of the situation.

Beyond that, he declined to discuss any of the specific questioning he faced during Wednesday’s 45-minute session. He followed Bryant’s alleged victim and one of her college roommates in the parade of witnesses. He testified just after lunch. The alleged victim testified for almost four hours Wednesday morning.

So far, Pietrack’s only public statement about the case has been a written statement saying it was his duty to be up-front about the events, and asking that people respect his family’s privacy.

Pietrack said his decision to speak briefly Wednesday was sparked by more than the case in which he has found himself a key player. He said he wanted to stand up for the people of Eagle, who he said have occasionally been unfairly portrayed. Eagle County, he said, is home to one of the country’s most affluent and well-educated populations.

He said he’s proud of his home town, and hopes the feeling is mutual.

“When I’m not here, a piece of me is always in Eagle,” he said. “When I’m not here, a piece of Eagle is always in me.

“I’m proud of my community, where I grew up and the people who helped raise me,” he said. “I’m trying to represent myself, my family and the community that helped raise me in the best possible light.”

Since last June 30, the road has been a little bumpy, but his goal remains the same. He still wants to be a basketball coach. He’s serious enough about it that he walked away from a baseball scholarship to walk on to the basketball team at Fort Lewis College in Durango. He decided that to be a basketball coach, he needed to go back to being a basketball player.

It hasn’t been easy. His playing time is limited ” even at Fort Lewis the call for 5-foot 10-inch guards is limited, but he’s one of the team captains.

Being caught up in this case hasn’t helped, either.

Like the time he was on the sidelines with friends and teammates a couple of months ago, preparing to warm up before a game in Colorado Springs. One of the private investigators working for Bryant’s defense attorneys found him and served him his subpoena, right there in the fieldhouse. He still knocked down a couple three-pointers and hauled in a couple rebounds during that game, a Fort Lewis win.

With his basketball season over, he’s scouring the country for a position as a college graduate assistant basketball coach.

“Over the months there has been some disruption for me and my family, but for the most part we’ve been fine,” said Pietrack. “I’m graduating from college in a couple months, and looking for a graduate assistant job. Coaching basketball is still the goal.”

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