Moment made for the media
The sphinx of the NBA politely lended a hand to his lady attorney as she climbed out of the silver SUV.
Together, they strode into the Justice Center, eyes locked ahead, seeing nothing of the throng around them or the live television feed for a nation that stopped whatever it was doing for what may have been the most hyped perp walk ever. We’ll have to check the collective ratings, but it’s probable that more people watched the walk than have seen the kid play basketball for the championship.
Assistant Managing Editor Randy Wyrick pegged it in his lead for Wednesday’s paper: This was the biggest non-event since Y2K.
Kobe Bryant flew in from Los Angeles in a private jet just in time for a seven-minute procedural hearing in which he uttered two words.
Then he flew home. He might have been in Eagle County for a grand total of one hour.
Excuse us for asking, but why?
What was so necessary about his presence at this hearing in which a judge went over some procedural matters and let everyone know he’d appointed a special investigator to look into who among the police, prosecutors office or defense team might be leaking information about the case to that nasty press?
Bryant was not asked to enter a plea, presumably of innocent. There was no jury to impress. The judge won’t be the one who hears the case at trial. This was mainly about finalizing scheduling. Bryant didn’t need to speak at all. His presence, when you get down to it, was the whim of the judge. There was no objective need for him to be there.
If this was County Judge Fred Gannett’s way of making sure the seriousness of the charges sank in, assuredly it made the desired impression. Besides, it’s always a thrill to see the high and mighty laid low, like the rest of us little people. The ballplayer is no star at this court. He’s the defendant.
The quaint attempts to pretend “Mr. Bryant” is just another suspect wore thin awhile ago, though. It’s even disingenuous at this point.
How many times are special investigators appointed to look for leaks? How often does the sheriff greet the defendant at the courtroom door, in full view of cameras? How many perps do their walk to a cheering crowd? How much legal analysis is generally devoted to what the accused is wearing, and whether that outfit shoulda included a tie in “conservative” Eagle County?
No, this was nothing so much as an event created for the media. Even the most scholarly, isolated judge could figure that much out. This did far less for decorum than driving even more interest in the story.
All the courts’ a stage …