Craig's Court: The Defense Fires Back

Posted April 6, 2004

You had to know it was coming. The defense was given lots of ammunition in the filings by the alleged victim's attorney and the prosecution asking for a trial to be set soon.

First, there was that mistaken reference by the victim's lawyer to a section of law which only accelerates sexual assault on a child cases. Team Kobe had fun putting that mistake back in the face of the lawyers for the accuser.

Then there was the inaccurate and sanctimonious recent claim by the DA that he was not responsible for any delay.

Team Kobe spent five pages of its response firing back with chapter and verse detailing the delays created by the prosecution. I first wrote about this obvious prosecutorial stalling back in November.

In its response filed today, the defense also made clear three essential points. Kobe Bryant wants this case over with as soon as possible, but has been honoring the Court's policy of not receiving a plea until after motions are resolved.

Second, Team Kobe contends that sympathy for the alleged victim is misplaced and should instead go to Kobe Bryant because it was this young woman who made up this hurtful allegation. "The accuser's false accusation of rape has extracted a personal toll on Mr. Bryant that is as incalculable as it is indescribable," defense attorneys wrote.

Finally, in a secret attachment (Exhibit A), the defense is disputing this accuser's mother’s written claim that her daughter has a terrible and transient existence which is the fault of Kobe Bryant and/or the criminal justice system in Eagle, Colo.

Team Kobe writes, "The accuser's request and its attached letter contain certain incorrect and/or misleading claims about her personal situation that are calculated to create public sympathy. The prosecution's motion echoes these claims. The factual basis for these claims is rebutted in "Exhibit A," attached hereto and filed under seal."

The accuser's mom (in a letter attached to one of the motions) claimed that her daughter cannot live at home. Why is that? If you were 19 years old and had just been raped by a celebrity, where would you rather be than in the safe confines of the relatively secluded home of your parents? The cops in Eagle would no doubt provide security to prevent, as much as possible, any harassment in their small isolated town.

The intriguing question of the day is what is in Exhibit A? It is hard to say for certain but it is reasonable to believe that the defense has been reading the same tabloid accounts of the accuser's activities that the rest of the world can view or buy at grocery store checkout counters. Beyond that, you have to believe that the defense has teams of investigators following up on this young woman's every move. Perhaps Team Kobe is even part of the source of some of these tabloid stories.

Sometimes, tabloid tales contain a lot of fiction. On top of fiction, they frequently use misleading headlines and innuendo. Beyond that, the tabloids, most of which are owned by American Media Corporation, sell their publications by using plenty of provocative pictures.

Kobe Bryant's accuser has become fodder for many recent tabloid stories. One such tabloid, the Globe, has been using her real name and picture. A sister publication, the National Enquirer, will not show photos of the accuser's face or use her name. Both have provided revealing glimpses into the life of the alleged victim which are either true or this young woman can make millions of dollars suing American Media for defamation. The stories in the tabloids paint a picture of a promiscuous, substance-abusing young woman who is looking to cash in on her encounter with Kobe Bryant.

In reality, these tabloids would much prefer to write these kinds of tawdry stories about Kobe Bryant. After all, he is the celebrity. If Bryant could accurately be portrayed as a promiscuous substance abuser, those stories would be far bigger sellers for these profit motivated media players.

Even with the tabloids and other media extensively covering the case, not one person out of 50 in this country would know this accuser's name or face. Would even the tabloids be interested in this young woman if she led a calm and normal life?

An argument could be made that, if this young woman has these current personal problems, it is because of what Kobe Bryant did to her in Room 35 at Cordiellera last June 30, 2003. Of course, reports of prior overdoses/suicide attempts on May 30 and February 23 of 2003 tend to rebut that argument.

Regardless, it now appears clear that the accused, his accuser and the DA are all in agreement that they would like the trial to occur sooner rather than later. In truth, Kobe Bryant's first preference would be that the trial begin on the twelfth day of Never. Judge Ruckriegle is the man with the power. If he gives the defense everything they want in the rape shield hearing, this trial may never occur.

Of course, that rape shield hearing is still going on and the parties return to court on April 26 to attempt to finish that and other motions. Expect a not guilty plea during this last week of April and a trial to be set for sometime in July or August. It could be a hot time in Eagle this summer.

Craig Silverman is a legal analyst for 7NEWS. He will be contributing his thoughts on the Kobe Bryant case in the months to come. He works for the downtown Denver law firm of Silverman and Olivas, P.C., which you can contact through their Web site or by calling (303) 595-0529. You can read Craig's bio here.

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