Prosecutor criticizes defense’s questions about Bryant accuser
Prosecutors in the Kobe Bryant case returned fire Tuesday, saying some assertions made by Bryant’s defense attorneys about his alleged rape victim are “often based on rumor, innuendo and lies.”
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert wrote in a court filing Tuesday that Bryant’s attorneys have repeatedly made statements in motions and open court designed to do nothing more than influence the jury pool and embarrass the alleged victim. Hurlbert wrote that some defense statements are irrelevant and unfounded.
“The defense has repeatedly filed documents publicly, which reveal information (often based upon rumor, innuendo and lies) for which no relevancy determination has been made,” Hurlbert wrote.
Hurlbert was responding to a 21-part request made Monday by Bryant’s defense attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Harold Haddon, requesting information they say could help prove Bryant’s innocence. Among the information requested was information about a rumored civil lawsuit to follow the criminal trial, a rumored book deal, interviews she reportedly gave for a book already published, background information about who tested evidence with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and additional medical information.
Hurlbert responded point-by-point to all 21 requests. He said prosecutors have no knowledge of any civil action plans or book deals. Hurlbert said prosecutors have no knowledge of any medical therapy the woman may have received, and said Bryant’s lawyers violated federal privacy laws if they obtained such information.
Mackey did not return an after-hours phone call Tuesday seeking comment, but her message has remained clear throughout the case.
In her filing this week, she reiterated that information about the accuser’s credibility is vital to their case.
“The importance of the credibility of the accuser in this case cannot be overstated,” wrote Mackey. “If she has sought compensation with the matter pending against Mr. Bryant, this request for compensation would certainly have an effect on that credibility.”
It’s rough from both sides, but that’s how it’s done when everything’s at stake, says local attorney Rohn Robbins.
“This isn’t an unusual request by defense attorneys who have relatively limitless resources,” explained Robbins. “They’re announcing that they’re trying to build their case against the alleged victim.
“They’re trumpeting that they’re willing to hire whomever they need to build their case to prove Mr. Bryant’s innocence.”
Hurlbert said questions like those asked by Mackey and Haddon this week serve no purpose but to contaminate the jury pool.
“The defense has revealed information by stating it in open court with the result that the information has been widely publicized,” he wrote.
Bryant, 25, is charged with one count of felony sexual assault. The woman accused Bryant of raping her June 30 at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where she worked and he was a guest. Bryant has said the two had consensual sex.
He faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of the felony sexual assault charge.
During a March 24-25 hearing, Bryant’s attorneys will question the woman in detail about her sexual past after the Colorado Supreme Court denied a prosecution appeal last week.
Bryant’s attorneys subpoenaed the woman, saying they want to question her in an attempt to persuade the judge to let them bring up the woman’s sexual history in the trial.
Colorado’s rape shield law prohibits such evidence under most circumstances.
The courtroom will be closed to the public when the woman is questioned.
The defense is expected to ask her about previous sexual partners in hopes of backing up their claim that she concocted a scheme to sleep with Bryant. They also say injuries found on the woman during a hospital exam could have come from other sexual partners in the days surrounding her encounter with Bryant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.