Sheriff, prosecutor cleared in Kobe Bryant leaks investigation
DENVER – An investigation requested by Kobe Bryant’s defense team has cleared the Eagle County sheriff and district attorney of leaking details about the sexual assault case to the media, authorities said Thursday.”I knew all along that whatever accusations the defense team was concerned about were not coming from our department,” Sheriff Joe Hoy told The Associated Press. “”We just do not spread leaks or allow leaks to happen.”Bryant, 25, is charged with raping a 19-year-old employee of the ritzy Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Eagle County on June 30. He has said the two had consensual sex and he is guilty only of adultery.Free on $250,000 bond, the Los Angeles Lakers star faces an Oct. 9 preliminary hearing to determine whether he will stand trial.Since the story broke in early July, there have been a number of print and broadcast media stories detailing the investigation and quoting anonymous sources. County Court Judge Frederick Gannett, who had already issued a gag order in the case, ordered the investigation by Pitkin County sheriff’s officials after the defense complained.While investigators have cleared authorities in Eagle County, it remained unclear who is leaking details to the media.Hoy said he had written a memo even before the complaint was made reminding his staff not to divulge information about any case.District Attorney Mark Hurlbert did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Defense attorney Pamela Mackey declined to comment.Scott Robinson, a veteran Denver defense attorney and former prosecutor, said it is unlikely the defense will pursue the inquiry.””The defense is not really in a position to go chasing after leaks. They have a case to defend,” he said.Hurlbert, meanwhile, filed a motion taking no position on a media request to allow a closed-circuit broadcast of the preliminary hearing within the courthouse. The judge has already rejected media requests to televise the hearing and allow photographers inside the courtroom.Defense attorneys also want the Oct. 9 hearing closed to the public, a motion still under consideration.Bryant faces up to four years to life in prison if convicted or 20 years to life on probation. He also could face a fine of up to $750,000.