Rulings expected soon in Bryant case
Judge Fred Gannett said Monday that he expects to issue one overriding ruling by Thursday. Because most of the avalanche of legal actions is interrelated, Gannett said he will try to encompass into his ruling most of the subpoenas and motions by Bryant’s defense attorneys, as well as motions by the District Attorney’s Office to quash those subpoenas.
Gannett met in his chambers Monday morning with attorneys from the defense, the prosecution and the media. Among other issues, that meeting dealt with a media request to use an adjoining courtroom for an audio feed during Bryant’s Oct. 9 preliminary hearing. Only a couple of dozen members of the media will be seated in Gannett’s courtroom during the preliminary hearing.
Media attorney Chris Beall hopes to accommodate much more media in an adjoining courtroom with an audio feed of what’s happening during Bryant’s preliminary hearing.
Gannett said he turned over to attorneys for all sides the actual work of hammering out agreements on the media’s request to use an additional courtroom. Gannett said if they can come to an agreement, one that he can approve, by Wednesday, he would issue his ruling by Thursday. That would give unhappy parties time to appeal the ruling, and for the matter to be settled before Oct. 9.
“It’s for the lawyers to work out, and ultimately for me to approve,” said Gannett.
He said because of all the people involved with the case, and its complexity, he does foresee unresolved issues important enough to postpone the preliminary hearing. Gannett said it would take something extraordinary.
Gannett said Colorado’s Judicial Canon 3 specifically prohibits television and still photography during a preliminary hearing. He said the canon is less clear about audio transmissions. He said Bryant’s defense attorneys oppose it.
Gannett said his media decorum order will hold for the preliminary hearing, as well as for District Court if the case is bound over for trial. That order bars media from shooting video or still pictures from inside the courthouse or on the grounds except in designated areas. It also prohibits media from interviewing the alleged victim, witnesses, attorneys and law enforcement officials in the courthouse or on the grounds.
“My concern is safety with that happens in the corridors and on the grounds,” he said.
In a related matter, Gannett said he takes full responsibility for a clerical snafu that saw Bryant’s alleged victim’s name and address put on the state judicial system’s Web site for about an hour. The mistake was made when a motion was posted on the Web site without the alleged victim’s name being blacked out. The page was quickly taken down, the alleged victim’s name and other personal information were removed, and the page was reposted.
Gannett said more than 1,200 pages of legal documents have been scanned and made available on the Web site.
“Its principle drive is to give access to all of you (the media) and the public, without waiting for paper copies to be made available,” Gannett said. “This case has moved a lot of paper, and this is one way to deal with it as efficiently as possible.”
Mountains of motions
Among the motions Eagle County Court Judge Fred Gannett will rule on this week:
– Bryant’s defense attorneys subpoenaed Bryant’s alleged victim to testify at the preliminary hearing.
– Bryant’s defense attorneys asked that the preliminary hearing be closed to the media and the public.
– Bryant’s defense attorneys subpoenaed the Northern Colorado Medical Center, the University of Northern Colorado’s student health services and the Eagle Valley Medical Center, seeking Bryant’s alleged victim’s medical records.
– Bryant’s defense attorneys subpoenaed records from The Resource Center, which operates several local programs, including a hotline for victims of violence and abuse.
– Bryant’s defense attorneys subpoenaed the Best Western Lodge and Spa in Eagle, seeking records about when the alleged victim and her former boyfriend used the health club and facilities.
Vail police ordered to provide 911 records
by Randy Wyrick
The Eagle County Judge Fred Gannett Monday ordered Vail police to give Kobe Bryant’s attorneys 911 records of calls to the home of Bryant’s alleged victim.
Gannett said the records must be turned over to Bryant’s defense team, but cannot be released to the public.
Gannett’s ruling Monday reverses an earlier ruling by Eagle County Court Judge Richard Hart, in which Hart ordered the records to remain sealed. The Vail Daily and other media outlets had asked for the records, which are generally available to the public.
Gannett said he was not bound by Hart’s earlier decision.
Bryant, 25, is charged with felony sexual assault after a 19-year-old Eagle County woman said he raped her June 30 at the the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where she worked and he was a guest. Bryant, who is free on $25,000 bond, has said the two had consensual sex.
Judge Gannett caught speeding
By Greg Masse Special to the Daily
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Eagle County judge overseeing the Kobe Bryant rape case recently had some legal troubles of his own.
Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett accepted a plea bargain on Sept. 18 to a charge of speeding on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon.
According to the original citation, the 50-year-old Basalt resident, who has gained national prominence over the past three months from his role as judge in the star basketball player’s sex assault case, was caught driving 80 mph in a 50 mph zone in Glenwood Canyon on April 25.
Gannett could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The Colorado State Patrol issued the ticket.
After 9th District Attorney Mac Myers saw that the offender was an Eagle County judge, he requested a special prosecutor to avoid any conflict of interest because he sometimes works with Gannett. The case was handed over to 21st District Attorney Frank Daniels’ office in Grand Junction.
According to court documents, the judge, who was driving a green 1997 Saab, pleaded guilty to driving 10-19 mph over the posted speed limit in the curvy canyon.
Gannett was pulled over at 3:40 p.m. as he was headed westbound along Interstate 70 that spring day.
According to the plea form, Gannett was ordered to pay a $50 fine and $30 in court costs.
Gannett will preside over the Bryant case Oct. 9 preliminary hearing. If Gannett finds probable cause to take the case to trial, it will be transferred to 5th District Court.