Bryant’s attorneys ask for secret prelim |

Bryant’s attorneys ask for secret prelim

Harold Haddon, left, and Pamela Mackey attorneys for Kobe Bryant lead reporters from the Eagle County Courthouse after a hearing in Bryant's sexual assualt case in Eagle, Colo., on Thursday, July 31, 2003. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Kobe Bryant’s attorneys Friday asked that next month’s preliminary hearing be closed to the public and the press.

Citing court rulings in sealing the criminal investigation file, attorneys Harold Haddon and Pamela Mackey said evidence presented in open court could prejudice potential jurors and make it difficult, if not impossible for Bryant to get a fair trial.

Bryant, 25, is charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old Eagle woman June 30 at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where he staying. She was an employee at the hotel.

Local attorney Rohn Robbins said the defense apparently wants to have it both ways.

“They want their cake and eat it too,” said Robbins. “They subpoenaed the victim to appear at the preliminary hearing. At the same time they’re asking to close it because they don’t want the negative publicity that may flow to their client if it goes badly for them.”

Bryant’s attorneys subpoenaed his alleged victim to testify in his Oct. 9 preliminary hearing.

“It appears they’re saying, “Let’s see to what extent we can or cannot intimidate her.’ But they want to do it without anyone seeing,” said Robbins.

“They seem to want to dip their toes in the judicial pool before they dive in.”

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he plans to play a videotape of the alleged victim’s statement, produce photographs of her injuries, and play an electronically enhanced interview with Bryant.

Haddon argued in his motion to close the preliminary hearing that the evidence is prejudicial. He also argued that an “electronically enhanced version” has not been provided to Bryant’s attorneys, and that it is inadmissible as trial evidence because it is “surreptitious” and was recorded during the “custodial interrogation” and without Bryant being advised of his Miranda rights. He said the version of the tape he received was “substantially inaudible.”

“The public revelation of this potentially inadmissible statement is a compelling ground for closing the public hearing,” wrote Haddon.

Robbins said that as a matter of course, preliminary hearings are open.

“If they consider all this to be prejudicial, why don’t they waive the preliminary hearing?” asked Robbins. “The only reason to have it is to see the evidence in the case, but they’ll have all that through discovery. It could also give them a sense as to how the district attorney will present his case.”

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