Defense’s sexual assertions called false
A question from Kobe Bryant’s defense attorney that set the media buzzing asserts something that is not true, said John Clune, the alleged victim’s attorney.
“Absolutely untrue,” said Clune, who represents both the alleged victim and her family.
Clune was referring to a bombshell question about his client in which Bryant’s defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, asked if the vaginal injuries prosecutors say the alleged victim suffered could have come from having sex with different men on three consecutive days.
Mackey dropped her bomb at the end of a 20-minute line of cross examination during Thursday’s preliminary hearing. She was questioning Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Winters, who was laying out the prosecution’s case. During testimony, Winters described the alleged victim’s vaginal injuries. While cross examining Winters about those injuries, Mackey asked, “Are they consistent with someone who had sex with three men in three days?”
Mackey’s assertion drew an audible gasp from those in the courtroom, and followed her blurting out the alleged victim’s name in open court. That motivated Gannett to clear the room and meet with attorneys in private.
“(Mackey’s) in there being taken to the woodshed, and she deserves it,” said former Denver District Attorney Norm Early, who was in Eagle to observe Thursday’s proceedings.
After a break of about an hour, Gannett recessed the case until Wednesday.
Bryant is scheduled to be back in court at 9 a.m., Wednesday, for the rest of the preliminary hearing. Gannett will rule on whether or not there is sufficient evidence to send Bryant’s case to trial in District Court.
During her cross examination, Mackey tried to minimize the prosecution’s evidence, asserting that it did not support an allegation as serious as the one Bryant faces. In fact, she asserted the alleged victim suffered few, if any, injuries at all, and if she did, they might not have been caused by Bryant.
In questioning Winters, Mackey pointed out repeatedly that a report from the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, who collected the evidence from Bryant’s alleged victim, indicated that in a diagram designed to show marks and bruising, no bruising was indicated.
“There is no indication of marks on her neck, no bruises on the front, no bruises on the back, the legs,” said Mackey in cross examining Winters. “The only mark the nurse examiner could see is a small bruise about half the size of a penney.”
Winters said he did not notice the bruise, located on the alleged victim’s left jaw, while interviewing her.
Winters said twice during Mackey’s cross examination that the alleged victim’s injuries were consistent with penetrating genital trauma, and were not consistent with consensual sex.
Flagrant or foul up?
“This was a flagrant violation of the spirit of Colorado’s Rape Shield law,” said Jill McFadden, executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, referring to Mackey’s conjecture that the physical injuries the victim sustained could have been caused by anything other than rape.
McFadden also was disturbed by Mackey’s repeated naming of the victim at the hearing. Denver defense attorney Craig Silverman said it was an accident.
“We find it hard to believe that an experienced litigator such as Mackey would make such a mistake,” said McFadden. “We feel that this was a calculated attempt to further intimidate this victim by circumventing the laws that our state has established in order to protect a victim of sexual assault.”
“This type of maneuvering goes well beyond even the typical smear tactics of defense attorneys in sexual assault cases.”