Subpoenas already flying for Bryant trial
Just hours after the judge handed down his rape shield ruling last week, Kobe Bryant’s private investigators were busy handing out subpoenas to his alleged victim’s college acquaintances.Investigators on the University of Northern Colorado campus in Greeley delivered several subpoenas, ordering college students to be in Eagle between Sept. 10-17 for Bryant’s rape trial. Bryant’s trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 27 with jury selection. Bryant’s alleged victim is a former UNC student who was on summer break when the incident occurred, June 30, 2003.At least five UNC students were issued subpoenas Saturday and Monday.”I thought I was done,” said UNC student Johnray Strickland. “I don’t know how much more do they want me to say, beyond repeating that I was not in that room.”Strickland was one of the alleged victim’s college friends.”I did my part for my friend, and I’ll continue to,” he said.Strickland said Bryant’s behavior in private hearings is much different from his posture when the public is in the room. During those public sessions, Bryant sits quietly at the defendant’s table. Several sources have said Bryant is far more animated during the private sessions, and was especially so during testimony by his alleged victim and the bellman during pretrial hearings.”The first time I stepped in the courtroom, they played a piece of the tape I did for CBS ’48 Hours,'” said Strickland, who appeared as part of a broadcast the television news program aired last fall dealing with the Bryant case. “You could see his whole demeanor change when he recognized me. He turned toward me with intimidation, staring at me. He acted like he needed to unnerve me.”But then, if I was in his position and some college kid showed up to testify, I’d probably do the same sort of thing.”Ready for trialDistrict Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Bryant’s defense attorney Pamela Mackey still agree on at least one thing: The case is going to trial.Mackey has insisted since last summer that the case won’t end until there’s a verdict, and is unwavering in expressing that Bryant is not guilty.District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said District Judge Terry Ruckriegle’s ruling last week does not change their case or their determination to see the case through to trial.Flannigan said prosecutors still have the same case they started with when Hurlbert decided July 18, 2003, to charge Bryant with felony sexual assault.Ruckriegle ruled last Friday the defense will be able to present evidence about the alleged victim’s sexual activity for three days prior to her rape exam, the afternoon of July 1, 2003. Bryant’s attorneys have asked whether the alleged victim’s injuries could have been caused by someone else.Colorado’s rape-shield law generally assumes a rape victim’s sexual activity and reputation are not admissible as evidence. In allowing information from that three-day time span, Ruckriegle said the information will help jurors determine the cause of her injuries, the source of DNA evidence and credibility.”She still has strong resolve to move forward,” Flannigan said.In his decision, Ruckriegle extended the deadline for a plea deal to Wednesday.Pathologist won’t testify DNA expert, pathologist Michael Baden, who was scheduled to testify for the prosecution, will not be a direct part of next month’s Bryant trial.Flannigan said prosecutors are still consulting with Baden but said they would be able to address Baden’s issues through other witnesses. Bryant’s defense attorney had asked the court to reject Baden as an expert witness. Prosecutors will still have Dr. Henry Lee, a DNA expert who is considered one of the foremost experts in the field. Lee rose to national prominence for his defense work in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.Baden’s cases include consultation on President Kennedy’s assassination, and also on the Simpson murder trial.Ruckriegle also granted a defense request to admit to trial the results of Bryant’s rape exam. Prosecutors did not protest that defense request.Bryant was taken to the hospital by sheriff’s investigators during the early morning hours of July 2, 2003.Bryant, 25, faces a single charge of felony sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty, saying they had consensual sex. If convicted, Bryant faces four years to life in prison, or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.