Court releases sanitized Bryant transcripts
The attorney for the alleged victim in the Kobe Bryant rape case was livid over defense team accusations she concocted her story to get money from a victims compensation fund, calling them “tabloid accusations.”In sanitized transcripts of a June 21 hearing released Thursday, Bryant’s defense attorney Pamela Mackey said the alleged victim “has profited to an enormous amount, $20,000.”The alleged victim’s attorney, John Clune, was furious with Mackey’s assertion Thursday.”The suggestion by Ms. Mackey that this family has profited from this case is disgusting,” said Clune.The alleged victim received medical treatment following the June 30, 2003, incident with Bryant in his suite at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera. Part of those expenses were covered by the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, which helps people offset medical expenses related to a crime that aren’t covered by insurance.Mackey argued that the jury should hear how much money changed hands in the alleged victim’s treatment. She also said if the alleged victim is lying – and Mackey asserted in court that she is – that money would have to be repaid.Clune took offense.”Her argument is nothing but tabloid accusations filled with misinformation,” he said.He said the fund won’t come close to covering his client’s family’s “huge” expenses connected with the case. “Although the family greatly appreciates statewide programs like the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, the amounts paid in this case are a mere fraction of the financial burden they have incurred as a result of simply reporting a crime,” said Clune.”I wonder how these expenses stack up to one week of billing from Bryant’s defense team.”David Lugert, a local defense attorney and former state and federal prosecutor, said it’s far-fetched that the alleged victim would create a crime that didn’t exist because she wanted the victims compensation fund to pay for her psychologist.”This money is not transferred to the victim,” said Lugert. “The sheer amount, $17,000, speaks to the depth and level of trauma this victim was treated for. The money doesn’t go to the victims, but to the experts who treat them.”District attorneys offices across the state encourage victims to apply for these funds.”The victim has nothing to do with a decision to grant some kind of expense relief,” said Lugert. “It’s in the hands of the district attorney’s representative who presents the claim and the victims compensation fund board.”The victim doesn’t control this and has no influence over it.”Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to comment on Mackey’s arguments but said the accuser remains determined to go forward with the case.”Her resolve has not changed,” Flannigan said.The sanitized transcripts cut everything about the alleged victim’s sexual activity, which, along with information about the victims compensation fund, was covered by expert testimony during private June 21-22 hearings. Defense DNA expert Dr. Elizabeth Johnson was in the courtroom for those hearings, as was prosecution DNA expert Dr. Henry Lee.First Amendment fightThe original transcripts from that private June 21-22 hearing were accidentally e-mailed to seven media outlets, who were immediately ordered by District Judge Terry Ruckriegle not to publish any of it, and threatened them with contempt charges if they did.Media attorneys appealed the order, saying it’s essentially censorship and violates the First Amendment. The Colorado Supreme Court sided with Ruckriegle, saying his prior restraint was acceptable in this specific case, but ordered him to released sanitized transcripts as quickly as possible.The case landed with the U.S. Supreme Court, with the media attorneys claiming First Amendment violations. Justice Stephen Breyer dismissed the media’s appeal Monday, but told the media’s attorney to resubmit their appeal in two days. That appeal was resubmitted Thursday.The sanitized transcripts released Thursday had to be purchased for over $100 through a court clerk Web site.Court administrator Karen Salaz called it standard practice.”Transcripts are the work product of the court reporter and as such, the documents belong to the reporter,” Salaz said in a written statement. “Court transcripts are not the property of the court, thus they are not public records and not normally a part of the court file.”Salaz said that in most cases, the record is never transcribed. She said transcripts in hard copy are only created when someone requests one.”Even parties to the case must pay for transcripts if they want a copy for their reference or records,” said Salaz.Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault, saying he had consensual sex with the then-19-year-old employee of the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where he stayed last summer while in the Vail Valley for knee surgery. If convicted, the Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.Bryant will return to court today for another round of pretrial hearings.
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