Bryant settlement with his accuser nears completion |

Bryant settlement with his accuser nears completion

Kobe Bryant’s attorneys are working toward a settlement in the civil case with the young woman out of court for an amount “in the millions of dollars,” according to sources close to the case.In exchange, the woman, a former Eagle resident, and her family are prohibited from discussing the case forever, sources said.The final agreement could be signed as early as Friday, sources said, thereby eliminating the possibility of a civil trial. All criminal charges against Bryant were dropped last summer. “The final settlement is enough to pay the attorneys and have a lot left,” sources said, although no exact settlement amount was available. Sources said the woman’s attorneys had hoped for a settlement in the tens of millions, but said the final numbers do not come close to that.That would make it more than the estimated $1.5 million the woman’s attorneys, Lin Wood of Atlanta, Ga., and John Clune of Eagle, have spent on the case so far, including hourly billing, travel and other expenses, according to reports by NBC news.Clune said Tuesday he could not comment. Wood did not return phone calls to his office. Bryant’s criminal attorney, Pamela Mackey, was also unavailable for comment.Wood and Clune traveled to Los Angeles last Friday to take Bryant’s deposition – statements made under oath they would’ve used to prepare their civil case in federal court. However, sources said, Bryant did not show up to give his statement because a tentative settlement had been reached.The woman’s attorneys also reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with American Media, which publishes the tabloids Globe and National Enquirer. No amount was disclosed from that reported settlement, either. The tabloids regularly carried stories and photos about the woman’s private life. At one point, Clune, saying the woman’s life had become impossible because reporters were following her around the country, asked the court to intervene.The civil settlement marks the second time Bryant case has been halted at the courthouse steps. Just days before Bryant’s criminal trial was to begin in Eagle, the case was dismissed when the woman told prosecutors she would not testify against the NBA star. And minutes after District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle granted District Attorney Mark Hurlbert’s motion to dismiss, Wood distributed Bryant’s signed apology to the reporters gathered at the Eagle County Justice Center.Bryant’s attorneys and the woman’s attorneys had negotiated for at least two weeks over the apology’s wording. The woman filed her civil suit in early August, about three weeks before the criminal case was dismissed.Bryant, who has said he had sex with the then 19-year-old woman but did not rape her, was charged with one count of felony sexual assault stemming from a June 2003 incident at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera.Because of Bryant’s celebrity, the case attracted international attention, bringing media swarming to the Eagle County courthouse. Media crews turned the courthouse grounds into a kind of tent city, with temporary television studios all over the courthouse grounds.Vail, Colorado

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