Friend says accuser had overdosePosted: Monday July 21, 2003 11:39 PM
Updated: Monday July 21, 2003 11:39 PM
EAGLE, Colo. (CNN) -- The woman who alleges NBA star Kobe Bryant sexually assaulted her was distraught in recent months following the death of her best friend in a car accident and the break-up with a boyfriend, according to her friends.
One longtime friend of the alleged victim, who did not want to be named, told CNN the 19-year-old woman took an overdose of pills in May and was taken to a hospital.
"I never assumed it was suicide," the friend said, "because she [alleged victim] had so many goals."
A city official said two phone calls were made from her home to police in the last 12 months, but those records have since been sealed. A judge Friday is expected to rule on whether to unseal the records.
Another one of the accuser's friends, Rachel Yandle, sought to discount the overdose report, saying the woman who made the accusation to a California newspaper is unstable and once tried to commit suicide herself. "She's not reliable, and she is unstable too. She actually got in a fight with her ex-boyfriend a while ago and also tried to kill herself," Yandle told NBC's Today show.
Yandle said her friend -- a former high school cheerleader who worked at the hotel where Bryant was staying -- has been through a lot, especially with the death of her close friend in the last two months.
"Any person, let alone a teenager that young, that's a lot to go through," Yandle said. "She had a lot going on and losing one of her good friends and all this. She didn't want this to happen. It just happened."
"She's not doing this for the attention or the money. She just wants to see a consequence, and for him to be behind bars. She's here for justice," Yandle said.
As details of the alleged victim's background began to emerge, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he is confident he can prove his case "beyond a reasonable doubt."
He called reports about the alleged victim "unfortunate," adding that "she's a strong girl. She's holding up pretty well considering everything."
Bryant, 24, is charged with one count of sexual assault, which carries a penalty ranging from four years to life imprisonment if convicted. In a emotionally charged news conference Friday with his wife at his side, Bryant admitted he had sex with his accuser, but denied sexually assaulting her, saying the encounter was consensual.
Hurlbert said the testimonial and physical evidence in the case is solid.
"All the evidence in this case supports the filing of charges," he told CNN without elaboration.
Hurlbert refused to comment on Bryant's news conference last Friday. The prosecutor noted it is not unusual for somebody facing sexual assault charges to make such an admission.
"It really is not uncommon in an acquaintance sexual assault case for the defendant to admit consensual sex. So, (as a prosecutor) you just rely on the various testimonial evidence and any physical evidence," he told the Today show.
"I believe that I can prove my case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that is the standard I am held to."
Yandle said her friend was "sick to her stomach" when she heard Bryant's denial.
"When she saw Kobe speak, she was really disgusted," Yandle said. "It just made her sick to her stomach, and she couldn't believe he had the nerve to cry."
Yandle said Bryant's story has changed.
"At first he did nothing," she said. "He was making it sound like nothing happened. And now he is just saying it was consensual."
The woman filed a complaint with the Eagle County Sheriff's Department July 1, the day after the alleged attack, authorities have said. At the time, Bryant was staying at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, just west of the Vail ski resort. Bryant's accuser worked at the hotel's front desk.
Bryant has helped lead the Lakers to three NBA championships in the seven years since he turned pro out of high school. He is the youngest player in NBA history to win three titles, and his role model image has added to his popularity with fans and players alike.
He is required to appear in court in Colorado Aug. 6 to hear the charges against him.