Thank you, law-talkers |

Thank you, law-talkers

Don’t you just love the whole Kobe Bryant scandal to death? I know I do. That’s why I’m so excited. Thanks to our country’s drawn-out legal process, Kobe-gate could go on for years.

The U.S. Constitution entitles everyone to a fair and speedy trial, but for good reasons, there is considerably more emphasis on fair than on speedy. Well, not so much good reasons as profitable ones.

Lawyers, for obvious reasons, benefit from lengthy court proceedings more than anyone else. So, naturally, they’ve made the legal system as much of a quagmire as possible and tacked on untold extra billable hours when it came time to fleece their clients. (This tactic, a lawyer friend once told me, is akin to doctors “spreading germs to drum up business.”)

Anyway, that’s good news for Kobe’s lawyers, because at his arraignment last Wednesday, Kobe waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 30 days. The hearing was instead set for Oct. 9, meaning the lawyers get to log hours on Kobe’s case for two months instead of less than one.

At the preliminary hearing, Kobe’s lawyers will most likely put off for as long as they can the date for the hearing of the charges and the plea. At that hearing, they will plead not guilty and then delay for as long as they can the actual trial, and they will happily dig into Kobe’s wallet the whole time.

At some point in the distant future, presumably, Kobe will be sentenced, which could put a crimp in Kobe’s lawyers’ lifestyles, unless, of course, Kobe is found guilty. This would lead to an appeal, and if that happens, the lawyers’ salad days could go on forever.

But that’s not the point. The point is that thanks to the lawyers, we will all get to enjoy this grand public fiasco for a long, long time. And that means we, particularly those of us in Colorado, can expect to glory in this current media blitz into the foreseeable future.

If you’ve been out of the country or lost in the woods for the last month and a half, you might not be privy to all the juicy details. Let me get you up to speed. You’ll hear all this in due time whether you like it or not, so I’ll just give you a crash course.

Since the Eagle County district attorney decided to press charges and accused Kobe of rape, most of the media attention has been focused on Kobe’s accuser, the 19-year-old Eagle woman who worked at the Cordillera resort.

This is what we know about her so far: She was a high school cheerleader, and she supposedly tried out for “American Idol.” Apparently, she didn’t make it too far. On top of that, many people already know her name thanks to some reputedly misogynistic talk-radio host in California who revealed her identity despite privacy laws intended to protect rape victims.

If you believe rumors, however, this is what we think we know about Kobe’s accuser: Reportedly, she once tried to kill herself by overdosing on sleeping pills. Apparently, it didn’t work. She was also said to have been distraught at the time of the incident following a recent breakup with her boyfriend.

So for the next few months, we lucky TV watchers, Internet surfers and newspaper readers will get to see, hear and read zillions of stories speculating about whether she slept with Kobe because she wanted to get back at her boyfriend or debating her mental state at the time. The best part is that these stories will be written by people who have no more idea what took place in that hotel room than the rest of us.

We will certainly hear some bad things about Kobe along the way, and we will undoubtedly hear the opinions of leading minority and women’s organizations, and every sports pundit on the planet will at some point offer their two cents’ worth.

We will see every person between Vail and Glenwood Springs on TV being asked for his or her take on the subject. And if the “American Idol” rumors are true, we will likely see Kobe’s accuser pen a tell-all book called “My Story,” hit the talk-show circuit and transform herself into a latter-day Donna Rice or Jessica Hahn.

Yes, it will all be cheap and sordid and trashy, just the way we like it, and it will go on for years, and for this we have just one group of people to thank. So if no one has said it before, let me be the first: God bless the lawyers.

Todd Hartley, Esq. (Esquire because he’s a gentleman), writes this column on Fridays in The Aspen Times. E-mail at

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