KOBE BRYANT TRIAL Prosecutors may decide to dismiss criminal case
The prosecution has suffered a series of setbacks.
EAGLE, Colo. (AP) -- Kobe Bryant has one more date in court before jury selection begins in his sexual assault trial. Some are wondering if it will be the last time he steps into a criminal courtroom.
With the trial less than two weeks away, speculation is mounting that prosecutors are looking for a way to dismiss the charge after suffering a series of setbacks.
"We have too many things happening in this case that we just don't normally have," said Larry Pozner, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "The big picture? None of this bodes well for the prosecution."
People connected with the case are barred from commenting in detail, but district attorney's spokeswoman Krista Flannigan has said prosecutors still plan to try Bryant, who acknowledges having sex with a then 19-year-old hotel employee last summer but insists she consented.
During a closed-court hearing today, prosecutors were scheduled to ask District Judge Terry Ruckriegle to reconsider his decision allowing the defense to tell jurors about money the alleged victim received from a victims compensation fund.
The defense has indicated it plans to tell jurors that the woman was given nearly $20,000, far more than usual, for mental health care and other services. Details of their argument were filed under seal.
The judge's decision could bolster the defense's efforts to undermine the alleged victim's credibility. Defense attorney Pamela Mackey said in a filing the woman's decision to sue Bryant last week in federal civil court had the effect of "exposing her motivation to pursue her false accusation -- the hope of a large monetary award."
Among the recent setbacks for prosecutors:
UIn late July, Ruckriegle lost a battle with media attorneys and was forced to release transcripts of a closed-door hearing that prosecutors called "extremely harmful" to their case. The transcripts had mistakenly been e-mailed to a handful of media organizations.
USoon after the transcript was released, the accuser's attorneys, John Clune and Lin Wood, appeared on national television to criticize courthouse blunders that they said damaged their client's faith in the justice system. They questioned whether the mistakes -- the e-mailing of the transcripts in June to several news organizations, and the posting of the alleged victim's name on a state court Web site -- would prevent a fair hearing of their clients' accusation.
ULast week, the woman's lawyers filed a civil suit against Bryant in federal court, seeking unspecified monetary damages. Bryant attorney Pamela Mackey said in a court filing that the lawsuit had the effect of "exposing her motivation to pursue her false accusation -- the hope of a large monetary reward."
UOn Friday, Ruckriegle dealt the prosecution another blow, turning down a motion to delay the trial.