Lawyers debate merits of Bryant case
They also say there’s already enough evidence on the table to bind the case over for trial.
What happens if it’s bound over, though, is still a matter of hot debate.
“I think this is the Titanic,” said local defense attorney Jim Fahrenholtz, suggesting the prosecutors have a weak case. “This thing is going to sink quickly.”
Not so fast, said local attorney Rohn Robbins, who pointed out the physical evidence, especially Bryant’s T-shirt stained with the victim’s blood.
“That’s a very damning piece of evidence. They should not raise the white flag, but the bloody shirt,” Robbins said, referring to the 1876 presidential election in which Republicans embraced “Raise the Bloody Shirt” as a successful campaign slogan to woo the votes of Civil War veterans, leading their candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, to victory.
Norm Early, former Denver district attorney, said Eagle County Judge Fred Gannett should pull the plug on the preliminary hearing right now.
“The district attorney has already presented sufficient evidence to bind this case over for trial,” said Early. “There’s no question this case will be bound over. They had probable cause since halfway through the detective’s testimony.”
People v. Harris
Legal experts said Bryant’s attorney Pamela Mackey dropped a bomb about his alleged victim’s reported sexual history because she wanted it in the public’s awareness and it probably won’t be allowed at trial.
A 2002 Colorado case, People v. Harris, prohibited information admitted at trial about how a sexual assault victim might have been injured, because it brought up a sexual encounter four days earlier. Letting that in as evidence, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled, would violate Colorado’s rape shield law.
Fahrenholtz said the tiny loophole is that the rape shield statute only talks about the trial, not the preliminary hearing.
“At trial you’ll be able to characterize her as her sneaking up to his room.
She admits she snuck up the back way,” said Fahrenholtz. “She was on the clock, doing something she’s not supposed to be doing at work. There was no bruising around the neck. If Kobe Bryant grabs you around the neck and guides all over the room, you’re going to show some bruises. There are none.
“I was flabbergasted at how weak I thought their case was when I left.”
Robbins said Gannett has firmly held to the guidelines of proof for a preliminary hearing, not a trial. The prosecutors had evidence they were not allowed to present, and so far they haven’t tipped their entire hand, he said.
“Not only would they not tip it, the judge specifically told them not to,” said Robbins. “He wants them to meet their burden of proof. They have not tipped their whole hand, and the judge admonished them not to.”
Sources told the Vail Daily that after the alleged sexual assault on June 30, Bryant repeatedly told the 19-year-old woman, “No one will believe you over me,” according to the woman.
“That’s what child sexual assault victims are told by their perpetrators,” said Early. “As I was reading that, I got an eerie feeling that I’d heard that before in my years as a prosecutor.”
Early and Robbins agreed that Mackey may have asked her question to influence the jury pool.
“There’s a jaundiced school of thought that she did it simply to poison the jury pool,” said Robbins.
Early said Mackey might have done it to lay the groundwork for a change of venue motion.
“I think they’ve been bucking for a change of venue since they held their first press conference,” said Early. “She criticized the sheriff, and more than half the people voted for him.”
Robbins isn’t so certain that such a move is in the future.
“I am of the opinion that there will be no motion to change venue,” said Robbins. “I think they’ve come to feel right at home among us.”