Bryant cooperative, inconsistent when questioned | VailDaily.com
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Bryant cooperative, inconsistent when questioned

EAGLE COUNTY – Kobe Bryant was cooperative with the sheriff’s investigators who questioned him the night after an Eagle woman said he had raped her, although he gave them sometimes conflicting answers.”Ask me what, ask me something, ask me anything,” Bryant said, according to a transcript and recording mailed anonymously to the Vail Daily this week.Bryant’s first reaction to questions about having sex with his alleged victim was a denial, which Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Winters would later say was one reason he didn’t completely believe Bryant’s version of events the night of June 30, 2003.Winters: “OK. Um. I’ll be blunt and ask you. Did you have sexual intercourse with her?”Bryant: “No.”As the questioning continued, Bryant later said, “… uh I did have sexual intercourse with her …”Sheriff’s Detective Dan Loya then asked, “OK, was it consensual?”Bryant answered, “It was totally consensual.”Loya asked, “What makes you believe, what makes you believe it was consensual?”Bryant answered, “‘Cause she started kissing me, (inaudible) then she bent over and (inaudible).”Bryant told the investigators that he stopped the first time he heard young woman say, “No.” He said the young woman had sex voluntarily with him. Then while she was kissing him goodbye, she asked for an autograph, which Bryant declined to give, saying she could have it the next day when she showed up for work, he told the detectives.Winters later testified in court that the alleged victim said she told Bryant “no” at least twice.Loya and Winters talked to Bryant for about 75 minutes in his room and the parking lot of the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera last summer.Bryant told Loya and Winters he regularly had similar sexual encounters with a woman named “Michelle.” Bryant said Michelle could verify that he held her from behind the same way he held the19-year-old Eagle woman who accused him of sexual assault.Bryant said the two took a tour of the Cordillera grounds, which ended back at his room. He said she showed him where the bears come up to the back window.Family concernsBryant told the investigators that his wife and daughter mean everything to him. He also expressed concerns about his career and his image if the rape allegation became public.”Is there any way I can settle this, whatever it is?” asked Bryant.”Well, what do you mean by settle?” Winters answered.”If my wife, if my wife found out that anybody made any type of allegations against me, she would be infuriated,” Bryant said.Bryant told investigators he would take a polygraph test.”If it becomes public I’ll lose my wife … that’s all I care about.”TattoosDuring questioning, Loya asked Bryant how the woman showed him a tattoo on her back. He told the investigators that she had a tattoo on her ankle and shoulder. When asked about the young woman, he immediately recalled her name for the investigators.Bryant: “She had like a strap or whatever and she like lowered it. I told her to turn around and she lowered it and she showed me.”Winters: “OK, all right um, did anything happen in the room?”Bryant: “Like what?”Loya: “Uh, did you guys hug or kiss?”Winters: “Kiss or hug?”Bryant: “No.”That was before the detectives informed him of her accusation and that evidence of a sexual encounter have been obtained. Later he claimed that she had kissed him first to initiate their encounter. Motives?Bryant seemed surprised the alleged victim didn’t appear to investigators to want anything from him.Bryant: “… I can’t believe this girl. What does she want from me?”Winters: “I don’t think she wants anything.”Bryant: “Are you kidding me?”Loya: “What are you willing to give her?”Bryant: “She has to want, she has to want something (inaudible) she has to want something.”Winters: “What do you mean she has to want something? I don’t understand.”Bryant: “She has to have a, she has to have a motive, to do, she has to have a motive to do this.”Winters: “What would be, what do you think her motive is, then?”Loya: “Are you willing to pay that if she is?”Bryant: “I got to. I got to. I’m in the worst (edited) situation.”The hugBryant said she asked him for a hug, which he said was initially platonic, but grew into much more.Detective Winters: Yeah, did she ask you to give, did you ask her to give you a hug?Bryant: We stood there and you know I pretty much (inaudible) like I don’t know, I might have hugged you all, like, when you came up to me, and I’d be like a hug, you know what I mean.Detective Loya: Was just a friendly gesture?Bryant: Right. I mean it looked like this, like OK, all right … whatever … you know … she kissed me (inaudible).Detective Winters: And I, and I don’t disagree that any of that happened, okay. I do not disagree with it that any of that happened, okay.The demonstrationBryant demonstrated on Loya how he and the young woman were positioned on the chair where the sexual encounter occurred.Detective Loya: Did you ever have her from the back of her head or her neck? Were you … ? What kind of intercourse was it?Bryant: (inaudible) held her from the back? Yeah, yeah, yeah.Detective Loya: Yeah.(Lots of voices talking over.)Bryant: (Inaudible). All right um … (inaudible)Detective Loya: I don’t want you to demonstrate.Bryant: I held her from the back and I went like this.Detective Loya: So what did you have around her neck?Bryant: I had my right hand like this and my other hand like that.Detective Winters: Okay.Detective Loya: Okay.Bryant: But … (inaudible).Detective Loya: How hard were you holding her?Detective Winters: OK, all right.Bryant: I don’t know. My hands are strong. I don’t know.Media apprehensionBryant said he feared the news media finding out about the investigation.Bryant: All right, all right, can I ask you a question, though?Detective Winters: I’ll let you ask some questions.Bryant: I do not want it to get to the media.Detective Winters: We don’t either.Detective Loya: That’s why we’re here at this time of night.Bryant: So how could that happen?Detective Winters: And we’re doing everything we can to try to avoid this going out publicly. We’re working on that okay. I, I don’t know the answer to that right now okay, I can’t promise you anything. I wish I could but I can’t. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way in our line of work, okay?Detective Loya: Hey Kobe, have you ever had any of these allegations made against you before?Bryant: No. Are you kidding me?Detective Loya: No?Bryant: Never, I like, I treat everybody with the utmost respect, absolutely nothing. …SkepticismWinters said he isn’t sure when the sex was no longer consensual, but at some point he thought it became became so.Detective Winters: And I understand, and just let me finish okay. So one you lied to us, okay, that doesn’t help. Two, um, then, then we confront this issue and you seemed a little bit skeptical in the details of exactly what happened throughout the entire incident okay. I’m not saying you’re a person that would do something like this okay. I agree with you, I agree that you got caught up in the moment. Okay. No doubt about it, you know, no doubt about it whatsoever. What I think you got caught up in also Mr. Bryant, is that, and I agree, I, I completely agree you, it was consensual up to the point of the hugging and kissing issue I agree, completely consensual. I have no issues with that whatsoever. What I, what I’m being, what I’m skeptical on is that I don’t know how consensual the sexual intercourse was. Okay. I don’t, I don’t, I guess to be honest with you I’m not sure, I’m not sure, if we’re getting all the facts presented to us as far as exactly what happened.Early alertMore than two hours before Bryant was contacted by law enforcement that night, a Vail Daily reporter received a telephone tip that sheriff’s investigators were on their way to Cordillera to question him about a sexual assault allegation. The Daily decided not to report on the investigation until more formal action took place that advanced the case against Bryant. If authorities had deemed the allegations against Bryant unfounded and closed the case, the Daily would not have reported on the accusations.The transcriptThe Daily published a story about the transcript Thursday, and a complete transcript of the interview was posted on the paper’s Web site, vaildaily.com, with light editing for profanity and some of the most graphic details in the questioning. The printout and audio recording were mailed anonymously from Denver in a large, brown envelope with no return address.Sources close to the case said the transcript was accurate.At the request of Bryant’s attorneys, District Judge Richard Hart had issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting any public release of records or evidence from the case.Calls for investigation by Bryant’s attorneys left some legal experts unmoved.”This woman has been getting pounded for 14 months, and now the first time someone comes out with something about Kobe Bryant the defense is yelling foul,” said former Denver District Attorney Norm Early. “He isn’t going through anything his victim hasn’t gone through over and over.”Local defense attorney Jim Fahrenholtz said Bryant’s statements were really nothing special.”It doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary for a guy being asked questions about committing adultry. Most men would naturally be nervous. It seemed consistent with what had said all along. If someone sent it to try to be damning to him, I didn’t find it that damning.”Fahrenholtz said they dealt with the situation head-on when they held their press conference at Los Angeles’ Staples Center the day Bryant was charged.A spokeswoman for prosecutors said Bryant’s statements were one piece of their case.”We had a strong case and a lot of evidence, and this was one piece of it,” said District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan. “His statements would have been admissible had criminal trial gone forward.”Bryant’s statements were part of the physical evidence his defense attorneys had hoped to keep out of the criminal trial, if it had gone forward. As the two investigators were collecting Bryant’s clothing and other physical evidence, Bryant gave them the T-shirt he was wearing, which turned out to be stained with three flecks of the woman’s blood.The criminal case was dropped Sept. 1 after Bryant’s alleged victim told prosecutors she could not go forward with testifying. The lawsuit, filed last month in federal court in Denver, is still pending.”It’s too bad they didn’t go to trial,” said Fahrenholtz.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or rwyrick@vaildaily.com


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