Bryant hearing appears likely to go forward
Bryant is scheduled to appear before Eagle County Judge Fred Gannett today for a 1 p.m. preliminary hearing. Gannett has said he has no clear indication that Bryant’s defense attorneys will waive their client’s right to a preliminary hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in the Eagle County courthouse. But Bryant’s defense attorneys have until that time to decide whether to go through with it.
Bryant’s defense attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Harold Haddon, did not comment Wednesday on their intentions.
District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said Wednesday that there was no reason to believe the preliminary hearing will not be held. She said today’s hearing is not expected to exceed four hours.
What will happen?
At today’s preliminary hearing, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert plans to put Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Winters on the witness stand to show photographs of the alleged victim’s injuries. The prosecution expects that those photographs, and other evidence, will be compelling enough to convince Gannett to send the case to trial.
It is not clear whether those photographs will be made public or they’ll be sealed from public view, seen only by the judge.
Winters’ testimony will also summarize the physical evidence, the victim’s statements, the witnesses’ statements, expert testimony from medical personnel who collected the rape kit evidence, among other details of the case. Winters will then be cross-examined by Mackey.
Hurlbert had originally planned to present a videotaped statement from the alleged victim, as well as an audio recording made during Bryant’s original interview with sheriff’s investigators.
Gannett, though, said some of the information was irrelevant and might prejudice potential jurors, and Hurlbert offered to refrain from presenting those recordings.
What’s the outcome?
Gannett will rule whether the evidence presented today is sufficient to make him believe that Bryant might have committed the crime of which he is accused – felony sexual assault.
Local attorney Rohn Robbins said the state legal standard upon which Gannett is required to base his decision is fairly low. Robbins said he fully expects Bryant to go to trial.
If Gannett rules there is probable cause, Bryant’s case will be sent along –or “bound over” – to trial in state District Court, where felony cases are tried.
If the case is bound over for trial, that does not mean Gannett is issuing an opinion on Bryant’s possible guilt or innocence – only that there is enough evidence to determine that a crime might have been committed and that Bryant might have committed it. At a preliminary hearing, Gannett could also dismiss the case for lack of probable cause.
But if the case goes to trial, a 12-person jury will have the last word on whether Bryant is guilty or innocent.
Bryant case began June 30, continues today
A glance at the charges
Text of the charging document in the Kobe Bryant case:
State of Colorado, County of Eagle against Kobe Bean Bryant.
Mark D. Hurlbert, District Attorney in and for the Fifth Judicial District of the State of Colorado, in the name and by the authority of the People of the State of Colorado informs the Court:
COUNT 1: that on or about the 30th day of June, 2003, in the said County of Eagle, State of Colorado, KOBE BEAN BRYANT unlawfully feloniously and knowingly inflicted sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on (name omitted) causing submission of the victim by means of sufficient consequence reasonably calculated to cause submission against victim’s will.
Further the defendant caused submission of the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence, in violation of section 18-3-402 (1) (a), (4) (a), C.R.S; against the peace and dignity of the People of the State of Colorado, in violation of C.R.S. 18-3-402 (1)(a), (4)(a), as amended, (F3). SEXUAL ASSAULT-OVERCOME VICTIM’S WILL. Penalty 4 years up to life in the Department of Corrections, 20 years up to life if Probation imposed pursuant to 18-1.3-1004 C.R.S. And possible fine of $3,000 to $750,000.
Respectfully submitted this 18th day of July 2003.
Mark D. Hurlbert, District Attorney.
Events in the investigation of sexual assault allegations against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant:
– June 30: Bryant arrives at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera near Edwards, after 10 p.m., ahead of knee surgery at Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail. Bryant asks a 19-year-old hotel front desk worker for a tour of the resort. She meets him for the tour, which ends at his room. He invites her in and she goes. It’s then that the incident occurs.
– July 1: Bryant has surgery at Steadman Hawkins that morning. The Los Angeles Lakers do not know he is in Vail, or that he is having knee surgery.
Mid Day: The alleged victim tells Eagle County Sheriff’s investigators that Bryant sexually assaulted her. She is questioned, then taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs for rape-kit testing, which collects evidence in cases of sexual assault.
Mid Afternoon: Bryant returns the hotel after having knee surgery.
Late afternoon: Clear Creek County Judge Russell Granger signs an order that Bryant be questioned about the rape allegations.
Around 10 p.m., the Vail Daily receives a tip about the allegations, but he newspaper decided to wait until official action was taken.
– July 2: Around midnight, Sheriff’s deputies question Bryant, then take him to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs to provide DNA samples and also complete the elements in a rape kit.
About 4 p.m.: District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Bryant’s attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Harold Haddon, agree that no action will be taken in the case until after the upcoming July 4th weekend. About 5:30 p.m., Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy is informed of the attorneys’ agreement.
– July 4: Sheriff Hoy issues an arrest warrant for Bryant, who has returned to California. Bryant flies back to Eagle County with his wife Vanessa, surrenders to authorities at the Eagle County Justice Center, and is released after posting a $25,000 bond. He is in Eagle County for less than an hour. Hoy describes him as “cooperative.”
– July 6: News of Bryant’s arrest finally breaks. It becomes a huge news story. The media feeding frenzy only grows as Hurlbert reaches his decision on whether or not to charge Bryant.
– July 18: Hurlbert files a single count of felony sexual assault against Bryant. Bryant releases a statement, saying “I made the mistake of adultery,” but “”I am innocent of the charges filed today.”
– Aug. 6: Bryant returns to Eagle County Court to be advised of the charges against him.
– Oct. 9: Bryant is scheduled to return to Eagle County for his preliminary hearing in Eagle County Court, where Eagle County Court Judge Fred Gannett will decide whether there is probable cause to send his case to District Court for trial.