Vindicator Logo

NBA Decision up in air on charging Bryant

Saturday, July 19, 2003

The district attorney says he's awaiting more information.
EAGLE, Colo. -- Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert did not make an announcement Tuesday as to whether he plans to charge Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant in an alleged June 30 sexual assault of a 19-year-old Colorado woman.
A decision is expected no sooner than Thursday. Hurlbert said last week he is awaiting unspecified "information" before deciding whether to charge Bryant.
Bryant, 24, of Newport Coast, Calif., was arrested July 4 on suspicion of felony sexual assault of a woman who worked the reception desk at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera. Bryant, in the area for minor knee surgery, was a guest at the resort June 30-July 2.
This week, the woman who accused Bryant reportedly hired attorney Mark Johnson of Avon. Johnson was not available for comment Tuesday night.
The woman's name is being withheld by the Orange County Register because of the nature of the allegations. Bryant has maintained his innocence.
Records requested
Meanwhile, the Vail Daily newspaper has taken legal action against the Eagle Police Department and the town of Vail, which handles the calls for Eagle Police, to make public police dispatch records to the 19-year-old woman's home.
A decision on whether to release details about two police calls believed to be from the home in the past year is expected Friday.
In Denver, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation continued to examine evidence.
The bureau began receiving evidence July 8 and reporting its findings to the Eagle County Sheriff's Office as soon as they became available. DNA analysis of a sample typically takes two weeks to process.
"We're still in the process of going through the evidence, and depending on what we find, it's hard to say how much longer it will take," Pete Mang, CBI deputy director, said.
"I wish I could say it would all be done by the middle of next week. But with each bag of evidence, we don't know what we'll find."
Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy, who has been in office since January, bypassed Hurlbert's office and went to Clear Creek County Judge Russell Granger, the on-call judge that holiday weekend, for a warrant.
Upon issuing the warrant, Granger didn't know he was dealing with one of the NBA's most popular stars.
"I didn't know who he [Bryant] was," said Granger, 42, in his sixth year as a Colorado judge. "And when I heard he was a Laker, I thought he was a second- or third-stringer."
Issuing an arrest warrant is not an assessment of a person's innocence or guilt; it's indicative of probable cause, Granger said.
"Probable cause is a long, long way from reasonable doubt," Granger said. "With the warrant, I'm looking only for clear, articulable facts that lead to a reasonable belief that a crime was committed."
Granger refused to elaborate on any evidence or witness testimony in the affidavit for fear on compromising the investigation.