Braudis called into Kobe case
and Naomi Havlen
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office will investigate alleged leaks to media that violate a judge’s gag order in the Kobe Bryant sex assault case, Sheriff Bob Braudis said Wednesday.
Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett’s order for a special investigator, during the NBA star’s initial court appearance, came in response to a request from Bryant’s attorneys.
The lawyers said recent news reports quoted anonymous sources describing injuries to Bryant’s accuser and the amount of time she spent in his hotel room. Reports also said Bryant gave inconsistent statements to law enforcement officials.
Braudis said he agreed to the investigation request, but said he didn’t have much to add about the case.
“It’s an independent investigation into alleged violations of the court order,” he said. “At this point we will await marching orders from the court. I have no specifics at this time.”
Gannett said a Pitkin County Sheriff’s investigator will try to determine what leaks, if any, are responsible for information from the sealed criminal investigation file being broadcasted and published.
“I am concerned that some of the reports in the press appear to address issues not generally available to the public,” Gannett said. “This is another opportunity for me to remind everyone involved to be careful.”
Bryant’s attorneys, Harold Haddon and Pamela Mackey, wrote in the motion that Eagle County Sheriff Joseph Hoy, his investigators and other law enforcement officials might have violated the July 24 judicial order regarding pretrial publicity limitations in the high-profile case.
The evidence cited by Mackey and Haddon include two July 31 reports by ABC/ESPN and The Rocky Mountain News. The ABC/ESPN story said “sources familiar with the prosecution’s case” revealed details about the alleged victim’s physical injuries and reported that Bryant “intentionally deceived law enforcement officials.”
In his original motion, Haddon asked for a hearing “where all law enforcement officers who are or have participated in the investigation of this matter answer under oath regarding their statements to the media. Any law enforcement officer found in violation of the order should be sanctioned for contempt.”
Sheriff Hoy said he doesn’t believe there were any leaks from his office.
District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Krista Flannigan told The Associated Press that there has been no internal probe in Hurlbert’s office to determine if it is the source of the leaks.
“The district attorney believes he has a very professional staff with a lot of integrity, so there has not been any need to do that,” she told an AP reporter.
Media leaks would violate Gannett’s order barring attorneys from both sides and court officials from discussing the case in public.
Gannett said the idea of procuring a special investigator originated with Haddon, who agreed with District Attorney Mark Hurlbert that the situation needed to be investigated.
Gannett said he called Braudis Wednesday morning, and by midday Braudis had agreed to provide an investigator to look into the matter.
Sheriff Hoy said he immediately informed members of his office to “extend to the appointed investigator every cooperation and professional courtesy.”
The investigator, who has not yet been named, will question officials from both sides, then make a report to Gannett and the attorneys.
Gannett praised Haddon and Hurlbert for coming to the idea together. He said the investigator’s report could result in a hearing, if necessary, and those responsible for the alleged leaks would be called to explain their actions.
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