Bryant proceedings move into an important phase
Bryant will be back in District Court today and Tuesday as attorneys launch into one of the case’s most vital phases.
Defense attorney Pamela Mackey will try to convince District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle to exclude almost all the physical evidence investigators collected from Bryant, as well as statements Bryant made to investigators questioning him the night they interviewed him. That physical evidence includes clothes Bryant wore June 30, the night he allegedly raped a 19-year-old Eagle County woman. Bryant has said the sex was consensual.
On the other hand, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert will try to convince Ruckriegle that the evidence should be part of the evidence the jury sees as it considers the case against Bryant.
Bryant’s defense team, Pamela Mackey and Harold Haddon, have challenged nearly everything regarding the case, and have been tireless in investigating their client’s accuser.
“They have limitless resources, with the accused’s wealth, and you would think the instructions would be to leave no stone unturned,” said local attorney Rohn Robbins. “Here’s a guy who potentially faces life in prison. He has the financial wherewithal to fund his defense fully. There’s everything at stake.”
Mackey has called the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office investigation “biased” since early July, when the case came to the public’s attention.
Mackey maintains that the clothing Bryant provided was not improperly collected because the search warrant investigators used could only be served in the daytime, not at night when investigators met with Bryant. Colorado law stipulates that warrants must be served during daylight hours, unless the judge issuing it gives special permission.
Mackey also insists that statements Bryant gave investigators should be thrown out because she said Bryant was in custody without being properly advised of his Miranda rights. Colorado law says that someone is considered in custody when he or she no longer thinks they are free to leave.
That defense assertion stems from a 75-minute interview Eagle Country Sheriff detectives Doug Winters and Dan Loya conducted with Bryant just after midnight July 2. Investigators met Bryant in front of the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, and accompanied him back to his room, where they questioned him out of the presence of the bodyguards who accompanied him from California to Colorado. Loya taped the interview with a hidden tape recorder.
So far, Ruckriegle has sided with the defense in keeping Bryant’s statements away from the public. Each time they’ve been included in a hearing, that hearing has been held in private.
Among those required to testify today or Tuesday will be three undercover agents from the High Country Drug Task Force, who were part of the original investigation; Bryant’s bodyguards; and other law enforcement personnel. Their testimony will cover what happened that night, as Ruckriegle tries to get at the facts of whether law enforcement officers acted properly when they questioned Bryant.
Ruckriegle will also hear testimony from some of Bryant’s alleged victim’s family, friends and acquaintances from Eagle County and Greeley, where she attended college. Among those subpoenaed to testify are the alleged victim’s mother. That testimony is part of the equation Ruckriegle will weigh in determining if the alleged victim gave up her right to privacy in regard to her medical records, and whether those medical records should be turned over to Bryant’s defense team. Prosecutors and her private attorney John Clune insist that she has not. Mackey argues that she has. Ruckriegle will make the final decision.