Charges on tap against Bryant today
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will likely be charged today in connection with sexual assault allegations, the Vail Daily has learned.District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said in a written statement he will announce his charging decision at 3 p.m. today during a press conference at the Eagle County Justice Center.No specific information was available at press time as to what those charges will be.Felony sexual assault, the count on which Bryant was arrested July 4, carries penalties that include stiff prison sentences. Class 3 felony sexual assault carries penalties of 10 to 32 years in prison. The more serious Class 2 felony sexual assault carries with it a prison sentence of 16 to 48 years, according to state law.Hurlbert said Thursday that he had informed the alleged victim of his decision. The alleged victim’s family referred all questions to the District Attorney’s Office. In a written statement Thursday, Hurlbert said there would be no other information available or comments until this afternoon’s press conference. When reached Thursday night, he reiterated that statement.Bryant is accused of felony sexual assault, stemming from allegations that when he checked into the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, on June 30, he or someone in his entourage summoned a hotel worker to his room and he sexually assaulted her. The 19-year-old Eagle County woman reported it to around noon the next day, July 1.Georgetown attorney Rob Wheeler, a former prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office, confirmed Thursday night that he had been retained by the alleged victim’s family. He made his first appearance at Thursday’s hearing at which the Vail Daily argued for dispatch records to the alleged victim’s house.Bryant, a three-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, surrendered to authorities July 4 after Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy issued a warrant for his arrest.The five-time All-Star was in Colorado for knee surgery at a Vail clinic. In his only public comments on the case, Bryant told the Los Angeles Times he “would never do something like that.”Bryant’s attorney Pamela Mackey has repeatedly asserted that her client is not guilty.Bryant attended the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday, but he avoided the media in his first public appearance since his arrest. He sat in the audience smiling and laughing with his wife.Bryant would have to return to Colorado on Aug. 6 to hear the charges against him.Details of the case have been sealed under a court order.Authorities have said both Bryant and his accuser went to hospitals after the alleged attack for tests.Sheriff’s deputies took Bryant to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, about 40 miles west of the resort, early July 2.Sheriff’s investigators didn’t reveal his arrest until July 6, two days after he posted $25,000 bond.KUSA-TV in Denver reported that Mackey was on her way to Los Angeles.Bryant has been one of the elite players in the NBA since entering the league straight out of high school at the age of 18. He starred when Los Angeles won three consecutive titles from 2000-02 and was the MVP of the 2002 All-Star game.He met his wife, Vanessa Laine, in April 2001 and the two were engaged while she was still in high school. Their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born in January.The Associated Press contributed to this report.