Bryant attorney denies settlement rumor
Posted: Friday August 22, 2003 8:59PM; Updated: Friday August 22, 2003 10:54PM
EAGLE, Colo. (AP) -- Kobe Bryant's attorney on Friday denied rumors of plea bargain negotiations and said she intended to take the sexual assault case to trial.
Pamela Mackey also told The Associated Press a rumor about a $5 million settlement offer to Bryant's accuser was inaccurate and that he has not made any trips to Colorado since a court appearance this month.
"It's just patently false," Mackey said. "Someone has made it up. There's just no way we're going to settle this case."
Mackey said she had been deluged with calls from reporters inquiring about the rumors since Thursday.
Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined comment on the Bryant case but said such negotiations in general would be premature until a defendant entered a plea.
Bryant, who turns 25 on Saturday, will return to Eagle for an Oct. 9 preliminary hearing where a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold him for trial.
The Los Angeles Lakers star is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel worker in his suite at an exclusive resort in nearby Edwards. He has said the sex was consensual and remains free on $25,000 bond.
Earlier Friday, Eagle police said the woman's father had called them twice in the past three weeks to report suspicious activity.
The father said the family left the home with two dogs locked inside on Aug. 14, according to a police report. When they returned about an hour later, the more aggressive dog was locked in an upstairs bathroom. Nothing was missing and there were no signs of forced entry, the report said. The father declined a police offer to check the home.
"This officer advised [the father], 'Maybe it would be a good idea to have all the locks changed due to someone may have a key,"' Acting Police Chief Gary Ward wrote. "[The father] thought a bug may have been placed in the home. None located at this time."
In the other report, the woman's father said a man stopped at the house July 30 and offered to wash windows. The father refused and the man left without stopping at any nearby homes, records show.
A telephone message left with the family's attorney, John Clune, was not returned Friday.
The case has drawn extraordinary media scrutiny. Bryant's accuser has been identified on Web sites and by at least one radio show host but most media outlets, including The Associated Press, have not disclosed her name or that of family members.
Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett has issued a gag order preventing attorneys and others involved from commenting publicly about specifics.
A special investigator will begin interviewing police officials Monday to try to determine who has given reporters unauthorized information.
Gannett had ordered the investigation at the request of Bryant's lawyers, saying he was concerned that information had been released in apparent violation of his order.
Sheriff Joe Hoy met with the court-appointed investigator, a sheriff's deputy from neighboring Pitkin County, on Thursday.
"They are a little bit uncomfortable doing it, but I said it's the right thing to do," Hoy said. "I said, 'If you find something, we'll take care of it.'"
Hoy said he did not know how long the investigation will take. He said Gannett gave the investigator broad authority to interview anyone involved in the case.
Bryant's attorneys have asked the judge to prohibit cameras in the courtroom for the preliminary hearing. Mackey and Hal Haddon argued in a motion that cameras are banned under state court rules and threaten Bryant's right to a fair trial.
Media organizations, including Court TV and CNN, have requested camera access. Gannett allowed cameras for Bryant's Aug. 6 initial court appearance.
State court rules allow cameras in courtrooms before trials during certain types of hearings, including the initial advisement, the attorneys wrote.
"The risk to Mr. Bryant's right to fair trial is heightened when prejudicial and potentially inadmissible information is disseminated to the public," they wrote. "At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor may offer, and the trial court may consider, evidence that is not admissible or is not subject to challenge by the defense, including hearsay."