Text messages a question in Bryant case | VailDaily.com

Text messages a question in Bryant case

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant yells at another player during a Los Angeles Lakers practice at their training facility in El Segundo, Calif., Thursday, June 3, 2004. The Lakers meet the Detroit Pistons in the Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles Sunday, June 6, 2004. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

No cell phone text messages were sent between the Eagle woman who’s accused Kobe Bryant of raping her and an ex-boyfriend in the days after the 19-year-old concierge encountered the basketball player last summer, sources have told the Vail Daily.Bryant’s attorneys want to see all text messages sent to and from the cell phone of Matt Herr, an Eagle resident, around the time of the incident. The woman has accused Bryant of rape, while he says they had consensual sex in his room at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera on June 30. Herr’s attorney Keith Tooley said there are text messages, but they were sent between Herr and someone else. Tooley also said he has never seen the content of those messages.Attorneys for both sides said the only way to know for sure what’s in those messages is to wait for state District Judge Terry Ruckriegle to release them. Ruckriegle will at least show the messages to Tooley. He has yet to decide if the messages will become evidence in Bryant’s trial, for which no date has yet been set.

Bryant’s defense attorneys subpoenaed AT&T last October seeking Herr’s text messages. During last week’s pre-trial hearings, Ruckriegle ordered AT&T wireless to hand them over to him by Monday. He will review them and decide what, if anything, the jury needs to hear as it makes its decision about Bryant’s guilt or innocence.In arguing against the ruling, Tooley said federal law protects electronic communication. But Bryant’s attorney Hal Haddon said his client faces up to life in prison, and Bryant’s right to a fair trial supersedes any inconvenience or embarrassment Herr might have to endure.In ordering the text messages turned over, Ruckriegle cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in which former President Nixon was ordered to turn over tape recorded conversations.Herr is allegedly one of two young men the accuser spoke to after the incident in Bryant’s room.

After finishing her shift at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera that night, Bryant’s alleged victim met lodge bellman Bob Pietrack in the parking lot and told him her version of what happened to her, making Pietrack the primary “outcry witness.”During the drive home, the young woman tried to call Herr on her cell phone, making him another outcry witness. Tooley, however, said his client just wants to be left alone. Herr has been the target of dozens of media inquiries, and became Tooley’s client shortly after the accusations were made and charges were filed last summer. Tooley said he is representing Herr free of charge.”My goal for my client is to insulate him, give him some peace and let him live a normal college life,” said Tooley.Herr has twice been called to testify during pretrial hearings. Tooley said Herr was required to testify about some of his life’s most intimate details, and expects to testify again.

“He will testify when called upon and will tell the truth,” said Tooley.Tooley said it’s irrelevant to ask whether it’s common for a witness to hire a lawyer.”If I were in his shoes I’d want a lawyer,” Tooley said.

Support Local Journalism