Bryant’s attorneys subpoena alleged victim’s mother
December 9, 2003
Private investigators working with Bryant’s attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Hal Haddon, issued subpoenas to at least four of the alleged victim’s local friends and acquaintances. They also requested appearances by at least three of her college acquaintances at the apartment complex where she was living last school year at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
According to sources close to the case, Bryant’s defense attorneys are looking for medical information about his alleged victim.
Bryant’s attorneys asked for much of the same information before the preliminary hearing in October. At that time, Eagle County Court Judge Fred Gannett rejected the request, ruling the medical records weren’t necessary for him to decide whether to require Bryant to stand trial, a ruling Gannett eventually made.
Dave Williams, an investigator working with Mackey and Haddon’s law firm, served all the Eagle residents, including the alleged victim’s mother, sources said. Williams declined to comment about what information Bryant’s defense attorneys were looking for.
District Judge Terry Ruckriegle will rule who, if anyone, will be required to testify during next week’s hearing.
Attorneys for both sides are scheduled to be in court at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19, for a motions and evidence hearing. Among the issues to be hammered out will be whether the alleged victim’s medical records will be admissible evidence during the trial. Some of those medical records will deal with the alleged victim’s two overdoses, one in late February and one in late May.
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Privileged or not?
District attorney spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said communication between a doctor and patient is confidential information. The defense has asserted that the alleged victim’s privilege has been waived because she might have discussed some of the information with people other than her doctor.
That, speculated Flannigan, could be what led the defense to subpoena the alleged victim’s mother.
Under Colorado law, communication between husbands and wives is privileged. Communication between parents and children is not, said Flannigan.
Why the alleged victim’s mother was subpoenaed depends on what kind of information defense attorneys believe she has, said Flannigan.
The prosecution can file an objection to those subpoenas, which would ask the judge to reject the defense’s requests.
But what the prosecution does about it depends on whether the district attorney believes the information defense attorneys are asking for is relevant, said Flannigan.
And to make matters even more murky, it’s possible the prosecution won’t know what defense attorneys are asking for until they ask for it in court.
The prosecution would know if the defense filed an offer of proof, laying out the information they seek, but Flannigan said that’s a courtesy the defense is not required to provide.
Bryant’s defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, is issuing standard subpoenas, which ask that the person served appear and give testimony for a deposition, or to appear at a hearing or trial.
The prosecution can file an opposition motion, asking the judge to reject the subpoenas. The subpoenas give no indication what Bryant’s attorneys are looking for, sources said.
“As to the issue of what they’re looking for, it could be information regarding the alleged victim’s mental history or sexual history, to the extent that those things are admissible,” said Eagle County attorney Rohn Robbins.
Robbins said that in a deposition, attorneys can get more information than is admissible at a trial. Attorneys also may be able to do more exploration than they can at trial, he said.
Even if the people Mackey subpoenaed are required to testify on Dec. 19, the defense attorneys might get little of what they’re after.
“Let’s presume the defense is successful,” explained Robbins. “Those who’ve been subpoenaed will be required to show up and give testimony. The defense may not get everything they’re after. They may not get anything they’re after.
“The judge can limit the scope of what information the defense is allowed to illicit.”
Private eyes can’t make you talk
You’re not required to talk to any private investigator at any time, no matter what legal forms they hand you, legal analysts say.
Eagle County attorney Rohn Robbins said private investigators, like those serving subpoenas to the alleged victim’s acquaintances in Eagle and Greeley, as well as her mother, cannot force you to answer their questions. They don’t have the authority, Robbins said.
Robbins said a private investigator is not someone with the authority from the court to demand information. He said an attorney can ask for that information, in court, when a subpoena has been properly issued and properly served.
But until the oath is administered by an officer of the court, and you tell either a judge or a clerk that you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you don’t have to talk to anyone’s attorney, either, Robbins said.
One of those subpoenaed said the moment a private investigator working for Bryant served her with a subpoena, he began peppering her and her boyfriend with questions. She said the investigator told her if she didn’t talk to him, she’d have to talk in court.
One has little to do with the other, said Robbins.
Robbins explained that private investigators are not officers of the court and no one is required to talk to them, no matter what they ask or how they ask it.
“Just because you’re served a subpoena by a private investigator, and that investigator starts asking you questions, does not mean you are required to answer them,” said Robbins.
And in the event that you’re subpoenaed and required to testify, you’re entitled to representation by an attorney.
Defense team teed off over T-shirts
Kobe Bryant’s attorneys want the names of everyone in the Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices who ordered those infamous hangman T-shirts.
“The information is sought because it is relevant to show the bias of the investigating agencies, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the District Attorney,” wrote Bryant attorney Pamela Mackey in a motion filed late last week. “Bias is always relevant.”
Mackey asked District Judge Terry Ruckriegle to force the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office to provide information about who ordered T-shirts from hangmantees.com. The Sheriff’s Office was putting together an order for 76 of the T-shirts. Two versions of the shirts were based loosely on the children’s word game “hangman.” Vendors from hangmantees.com were selling the shirts during Bryant’s first court appearance last August.
District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan has said the office staff and attorneys did not participate.
“We knew about them,” said Flannigan. “We were asked if we wanted to order some and the staff decided against it.”
A series of e-mails went back and forth between the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and hangmantees.com, in which details of the T-shirt order were hammered out.
The order was finally cancelled.
“It is important to learn the identities of the individuals in the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office who purchased the “hangman” T-shirts so that they may be admonished not to wear those inflammatory T-shirts at or near the courthouse during trial,” said Mackey.
On their Web site, hangmantees.com lampoons all sorts of celebrities.
One of the T-shirts lampooning Bryant said:
“First class plane ticket
Not bringing your wife to Colorado with you
In the motion, Mackey submitted e-mails between the company and Sheriff’s Office under seal at the company’s request. She also referred to a handful of court cases discussing the impact of bias.
“Bias is always relevant,” she wrote.