Even judge expresses doubts | VailDaily.com

Even judge expresses doubts

Don Rogers

It’s not simply that the prosecutors presented a weak case during Kobe Bryant’s preliminary hearing on a sexual assault charge.

It’s that the physical evidence, the injuries and such, is stunningly flimsy. It’s that there was no eyewitness to the incident Bryant calls consensual and the alleged victim calls rape. It’s that the young woman’s own recalled actions that night leave her version of the encounter in question.

It’s that the very foundation of the case is unstable enough it’s difficult to see what the prosecutors will be able to build atop it to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kobe Bryant, admitted cad, indeed committed a heinous crime for which he should go to prison for four years to the rest of his life.

Even the County Court judge who heard the case, Fred Gannett, expressed his doubts in the fine, arcane prose saved for written court rulings. If the message was subtle for lay readers, we trust it was unmistakable to the District Attorney’s Office.

It’s one thing for know-nothing newspaper pundits and talking heads on camera to make such observations. It’s quite another when the judge sees things the same way.

Only by the rules dictating that the judge go only by the reading of evidence most favorable to the prosecution does the case advance as predicted to trial. That’s a far, far cry from proof beyond reasonable doubt, but there you go.

For now, we’ll just have to rest on faith that the prosecutors will do the “people” proud in competently carrying a sound case forward, and that the expense and wear on the individuals at the center of the drama will prove worth it all in the end.

It’s very difficult to see how, given the poverty of the evidence shown at the prelim. But District Attorney Mark Hurlbert continues to exude confidence and it’s his case to play out. Especially for the alleged victim’s sake, let’s hope that confidence is well founded.

Not Haddon

Bryant attorney Hal Haddon explained via e-mail that he had no conversation with retired Judge Bill Jones that led to the then-astounding assertion that the rape examination of the alleged victim found semen from someone other than Bryant in the young woman. Our apologies to Haddon. The New York Daily News asserted between prelim sessions a week ago that the judge told them about this. Later, the kooky-sounding tip – we passed on it at the time – turned out to be true. It was mentioned in a column Monday.

We just don’t know where the good judge really got his information, which we could dismiss if it weren’t true.

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