Bryant’s defense samples jury pool |

Bryant’s defense samples jury pool

Cliff Thompson
** FILE ** Kobe Bryant, sporting a large tattoo on his right arm, listens to a question during an interview during the Los Angeles Lakers media day at the team training center in El Segundo, Calif., in this Oct. 10, 2003 file photo. Bryant, who built an image on and off the court as clean-cut and well-mannered, is expressing himself in ways fans and teammates haven't seen during much of his seven-plus NBA seasons. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The defense team tele-surveyed county residents using Boulder-based Talmey/Drake, a public opinion and consulting firm. Interviewers asked residents if there have been any changes in their feelings about the guilt or innocence of the NBA star on a felony sexual assault charge that could send him to prison for up to life if he’s found guilty.

The poll follows a media blitz after his preliminary hearing last month, during which many details in the alleged sexual assault were made public.

Bryant is charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old Eagle woman June 30. She was an employee of the Lodge at Cordillera, where Bryant was a guest the night before undergoing knee surgery in Vail. The alleged sexual assault occurred in the room Bryant rented. Bryant has stated the sex was consensual. The district attorney says he’s confident in his case against Bryant.

The survey appears to be a follow-up to an August survey conducted by Talmey Drake to gauge if there has been any change in the mood of the potential jury pool regarding Bryant. Respondents were asked about how they learned about the charges against Bryant and if any of the information made public has changed their opinion of what happened.

DNA evidence gathered after the alleged assault and presented at the preliminary hearing indicates the alleged victim had had sex with another male prior to the incident involving Bryant.

In August Talmey/Drake surveyed hundreds of county residents with dozens of questions ranging to how they felt about the NBA star’s guilt or innocence on sexual assault charges, to how they learned about the charges, to whether respondents are registered voters.

Respondents were also asked how they felt about Eagle County’s government and how it is running; what newspapers they read; whether they have cable television or listen to the radio; whether they had heard about the Kobe Bryant case and from what newspapers they got their information.

They were also asked to rate Eagle County’s media coverage for the past few years and then whether they had ever served on a jury or been called to jury duty.

Law firms often survey potential jury pools to help devise strategies that can include asking the trial to be moved to an area with a more favorable jury pool to determining the potential for guilt or acquittal.

Bryant is scheduled to appear Nov. 13 for an advisement hearing in Eagle County District Court before Judge Terry Ruckriegle.

The heavily publicized matter was bound over from Eagle County Court by Judge Fred Gannet last month. The charge against the NBA star, who has profited from endorsements from sponsors for his squeaky-clean image, has attracted international media attention. and attracted up to 500 journalists the county’s justice center at peak.

Bryant plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and on the court is considered one of the NBA’s best players. His product sponsors, who haven’t aired commercials using him since his arrest July 4, include McDonald’s, Nike and Spalding.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 970-949-0555 x450 or

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