Suspect in Bryant case threats pleads guilty | VailDaily.com
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Suspect in Bryant case threats pleads guilty

Veronica Whitney

EAGLE COUNTY – Though the Kobe Bryant rape case was dismissed in September, some of the side effects are lingering.A California man recently pled guilty in federal court to making approximately 70 threats against Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and others while Hurlbert was prosecuting NBA star Kobe Bryant. Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old former Eagle woman in June 2003 at the Spa and Lodge at Cordillera, but all criminal charges were dropped last summer.Cedric Augustine, 38, of Long Beach, Calif., who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Feb. 25, pled guilty to making a threatening communication across state lines, which carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 2.”We had a ton of people threatening us, but (Augustine) gave us 80 calls and the FBI tracked him,” Hurlbert said. “I think he was a fan.”According to the indictment and subsequent plea agreement, Augustine made the threats over the course of five months, starting on July 18, 2003 and continuing, sometimes on a daily basis, through Nov. 16, 2003. Many of the threats were intended for Hurlbert, with some also directed towards the district attorney’s family, a U.S. Attorney’s Office report says. Augustine also threatened Bryant’s accuser and her family, as well as a detective and another witness before charges against Bryant were dropped. The threats, most of which were left on answering machines in the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Eagle County Combined Courts, included references to gangs, including the Mexican Mafia and the “South Santa Ana Blood Killers,” which Augustine said had a membership of “900 strong.””He said he would get a bunch of people in a bus with baseball bats,” Hurlbert said. “It was a little funny then, but you never know how serious it is.” Many of the threats involved blowing up or burning down the Eagle County courthouse. Augustine also allegedly threatened to blow “the town apart” and threatened to shoot and kill all involved in the Bryant prosecution, the U.S. Attorney’s Report says. The threats were investigated by the FBI with assistance from deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies. Hurlbert said he doesn’t know how the FBI caught Augustine.”I don’t know how they figured him out,” he said. “We had a phone that traps numbers, but he was a using a phone card.”This puts closure to the case,” Hurlbert added. “People should take home the lesson that if you made threats to the D.A.’s office, the FBI will track you down and catch you.” Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado


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