Bryant accuser questioning role in case
DENVER – Kobe Bryant’s prosecutors said Wednesday that he will be put on trial later this month, even as attorneys for the woman accusing the NBA star of rape suggested her participation is not a sure bet.Attorney John Clune said his 20-year-old client will have to talk with prosecutors about whether she will go ahead with the criminal case. He said she fears the recent release of court documents that refer to her sex life threatens her chance of getting a fair trial.Asked if his client is considering dropping out of the case, Clune told The Associated Press: “That’s something she and prosecutors will have to discuss in the immediate future. The DA’s office will have to make that decision on what they want to do.”Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said prosecutors have been in constant contact with the accuser and her lawyers throughout the case, and were told the woman would still participate even after the release of the transcripts which happened earlier this week.”Nothing has changed with our plans of going forward with the prosecution of this case,” she said. “The impression I got was that the victim needs to have strong resolve.”Flannigan said she didn’t know if the case would proceed if the woman does not want to participate. The trial begins Aug. 27 in Eagle.Clune also said his client is considering filing a civil lawsuit against Bryant. A criminal case requires a higher standard of proof to convict – beyond a reasonable doubt – and punishment can involve prison time. A civil case has a lower standard of proof – a preponderance of evidence – and punishment is usually a monetary award.”This young woman is not going away. Whether it proceeds criminally or civilly or both, justice is going to be had for this young woman,” Clune said. The woman’s other lawyer, L. Lin Wood, said decisions on how to proceed should be made in a matter of days.Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault, saying he had consensual sex with the woman at a Vail-area resort last summer. If convicted, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.Clune and Wood surprised some legal analysts by appearing on network and cable television shows Wednesday to discuss their client’s concerns about the upcoming trial, leaving Flannigan to insist that the case is moving forward.”It may be that he and his young client don’t really know where they are going,” Scott Robinson, a Denver defense attorney familiar with the case, said of Clune. “It would seem odd to go this far and now give up. Maybe it is a mixed message because they have mixed emotions.”Larry Pozner, a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called Clune’s statement a “white flag of surrender.””His statement is the most impactful thing you could say to a jury: that you are rethinking the case,” he said.
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.