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Kobe won't know till next week


jbooma

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Kobe won't find out if he is charged till next week. I have a feeling it is because they want to talk to the girl again. There is more to the story now.

http://espn.go.com/nba/news/2003/0710/1578893.html

ESPN.com news services

EAGLE, Colo. -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant talked to and flirted with the alleged victim in the ongoing sexual assault case when he checked into the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera on June 30, according to hotel employees, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

One employee told the newspaper that hotel security, responding to complaints of noise from other guests, went to Bryant's room early in the morning on July 1. A report of the alleged attack was made to Eagle County law enforcement officials later that afternoon, hours after Bryant underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, according to the Times.

A decision on whether to charge Bryant with the assault will not be announced until sometime next week, prosecutors said Thursday. Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert did not immediately return a call, but his spokeswoman said there will be no word until then.

The Times also reported that the alleged victim -- a hotel employee -- is a former cheerleader and choir singer at Eagle Valley High School who was described as "fun-loving, outgoing and emotional" by friends.

A couple that lives next door to the woman expressed shock that the alleged victim is the woman they know.

"My husband was just saying this morning that he was a disbeliever of the legal action against Kobe -- he thinks Kobe is a stand-up guy," the wife, who declined to give her name, told the Times. "But my thinking all along has been, 'Why would this woman give a false accusation and open herself up to all this scrutiny unless something happened?' "

Her husband told the newspaper that his position changed upon learning the identity of the alleged victim.

"It's more complicated now," the man said. "My thinking was entirely based on Kobe's clean image. But now, actually knowing this girl and her family a lot more than I know Kobe, I just do not think she would do anything malicious. We're dealing with a young girl here, somebody brought up in the mountains, a trusting person.

"That entire family is well-respected. Usually, you get a good sense of a child by the pride her parents show, and they did with her."

Under Colorado law, sexual assault encompasses a wide range of behavior, whether it be touching a clothed body part or engaging in a sexual act, and what the accusations are is not yet clear.

Also on Thursday, the Times reported that Bryant and the 19-year-old woman each went to a hospital after the alleged attack, but investigators said little about the reasons.

Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy told the Vail Daily on Wednesday that the woman underwent tests, but he declined to identify the tests or the facility. He said the tests were common practice in sexual assault cases. Sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Andree would not say whether deputies or someone else took the woman to a hospital, or whether she drove herself.

Sheriff's deputies took Bryant to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, about 40 miles west of the resort, early on July 2. Bryant voluntarily submitted DNA samples to investigators, the Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday. Sheriff's detective Doug Winters said Wednesday that Bryant was allowed to leave on his own because he had not been charged. Deputies stayed with the Lakers guard while he was at the hospital, to protect the integrity of the evidence, according to the newspaper.

Hurlbert said Tuesday he hoped to have a decision whether to file charges against Bryant by the end of this week.

"I felt confident from the first time I talked to my investigators," Hoy said Tuesday. "I felt we did the right thing."

Terry O'Brien, a 38-year-old Vail Taxi dispatcher and driver, told the Orange County Register Tuesday that he picked up the star from the emergency room at Valley View Hospital. According to the newspaper, Bryant was with three members of his entourage and flanked by Eagle County sheriff's officers.

Bryant pulled a towel over his head before diving into the back seat of the cab, O'Brien told the newspaper.

O'Brien was not at work early Wednesday and a telephone listing in his name was disconnected.

Police spokesperson Kim Andree refused to confirm the story, but did say the department uses hospitals in Glenwood Springs and Vail for tests in sexual assault investigations.

O'Brien said he transported Bryant and three men to the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, then drove one of the men back to the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where the man "cleared out" Bryant's belongings. O'Brien said he was paid $372 by Bryant bodyguard Michael Ortiz for the 2½-hour job. The Register did not specify how O'Brien knew Ortiz's identity.

"The whole thing was pretty weird and pretty fishy," O'Brien told the Register. "Bryant was laying in the back seat with a towel over his head, trying not to be seen, while three men were taking care of all the details."

Authorities have said they are treating Bryant like any other suspect, though Eagle County sheriff's investigators didn't reveal his arrest until two days after he was released on bail.

Earlier this week, Sheriff Joe Hoy said investigators learned of the assault allegation on July 1 and spent nearly 30 hours on the case before contacting Bryant. Andree has said investigators told Bryant about the arrest warrant last Thursday, and he returned to Colorado the next day to turn himself in and post $25,000 bail.

The arrest wasn't announced until Sunday.

On Tuesday, Hoy said the alleged victim would return home from a family vacation to "mind-boggling" media attention.

Hoy said he was concerned about the pressure on the woman and frustrated that there was more attention on Bryant than on her.

"To me, the sad part is, if this hadn't been who it involved, this wouldn't even be a blip on anyone's radar screen," he said. "Personally, I think they're focusing on our suspect rather than on the victim."

Prosecutors Monday said they needed more time before deciding whether to bring charges against Bryant, 24.

"Sexual assault cases are extremely complex and sometimes it takes awhile to get through everything," Hurlbert said Monday.

He refused to discuss details of the allegations against Bryant, a five-time NBA All-Star. Hurlbert said the alleged victim was "doing OK, considering the circumstances."

Bryant's lawyer said Monday that Bryant "expects to be completely exonerated" and accused the sheriff's office of rushing the case.

Bryant turned himself in to authorities Friday, the sheriff's office said. The married father of a baby girl was released that day after posting $25,000 bond.

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