Kobe Bryant's Court Hearing Still in Doubt
Oct 8, 5:48 pm ET
By Ellen Miller
EAGLE, Colo. (Reuters) - One day before Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was due in court on charges that he raped a 19-year-old Colorado woman, court officials said on Wednesday it was still not clear if a hearing to decide if he must stand trial would take place.
Bryant's attorneys could decide to waive that hearing and proceed to trial, said Karen Salaz, spokeswoman for the Colorado State Judicial Department, but "we will not know until you know -- when they stand up in court and say they're waiving."
The 25-year-old basketball star is scheduled for a preliminary hearing that will determine if he must stand trial on one count of felony sexual assault, the equivalent of rape under Colorado law. He was expected to fly to Colorado for the court date from Hawaii, where he has been in training with the Lakers.
A defendant has the right to waive the hearing in Colorado and doing so would keep details about the case, and the potentially damaging accusations of the alleged victim, from being revealed in open court before the trial.
Bryant has denied he raped the woman, a hotel concierge and college student, and has said the June 30 encounter at a posh Colorado resort where she worked was consensual sex.
Eagle County prosecutor Mark Hurlbert has said he plans to show photographs of injuries to the woman that she told police she received during the attack. Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett has ruled that she will not have to be present at the preliminary hearing.
Gannett has scheduled a status conference with the attorneys just before the public hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EDT).
The defense could make its decision about participating in the preliminary hearing depending on how the judge rules on questions such as closing the courtroom to the public during the hearing to keep certain information under wraps.