Trial by Media – the Kobe Bryant story
Media Jam Special Feature compiled and edited by Dave Blue
(Note: This posting here is more of a way of saying thanks to all of you fine folk at asbnll who have helped in one way or another to inspire this compilation.)
Oh and one note for you. This is a 40 page document. Don’t burn your retinas trying to read it all off of a screen. You can print this document, or download a text version at the end of the page. Do yourself a favor – print it out. And do me a favor – when you’re done, pass it along to someone else who might be interested.
When the Kobe story broke – I admit it up front, I’m a basketball fan and Kobe is my favorite player. Still, I didn’t see anything that would be on-topic for us here that needed talking about.
However, the more info that came out, the more I began to see not one, but two topics specifically related to our topic of media and began to gather articles and commentary on them. Most articles and comments I’ve gotten from the Usenet group alt.sports.basketball.nba.la-lakers. I’ve done all I can to preserve the original links and credits, but some comments have been made anonymously and you have my apologies in advance if I’ve failed to credit a source. If you’re one of those sources then write in and we’ll print a correction next issue. Also some of the articles especially might seem a little choppy as I’ve lifted out the important paragraphs while trying to avoid copy-and-pasting entire three or four page story. Already I know this is going to be a pretty big installment and no need to make it bigger than necessary.
This is not and was not intended to be a re-cap of the Kobe story. This is Media Jam, not Sports Illustrated. We’re focusing on a couple of issues brought out by this case that relate to media and our response to it. The two issues we’re looking at specifically are
1) Freedom of Information – the big boys refused to disclose any information, so the wonderful world of hackers and googlers simply went around them and brought the facts to life. The point of this sub-topic is the degradation of the concept of privacy. Non-disclosure policies won’t help you. If a nation of millions with net access wants the facts, they’ll get ’em.
2) Trial By Media – Perhaps best illustrated by the OJ Simpson case, we’ve watched the way celebrity trials happen and how the end court decision is almost irrelevant. The real trial takes place in the minds of everybody who sucks up everything the media puts out and make up their own minds.
With that said, let’s launch into the meat of the feature. I’ll interject comments in the form of (Ed: here’s a comment). Needless to say the ed is for editor, not Edward.
Longtime readers of this column know that rapists, child molesters and sexual malefactors of every twisted stripe get no sympathy here. And with all due respect to the concept of innocent unless proven guilty, let’s face it, if cops and prosecutors have enough evidence to arrest and charge a guy for sexual assault, nine times out of 10, and maybe more, he turns out to be guilty as sin.
Still, while it may not be politically correct to say it, there are times when alleged sexual assault victims lie. And in those cases, the opprobrium and scorn of society fall a lot harder on the innocent accused than on the guilty accuser.
What brings this up is the Kobe Bryant case. As all the world knows, the Lakers star and Orange County resident was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in Colorado after a 19-year-old female hotel worker made an accusation against him. The woman’s name is –
Well, that’s the point. I can’t tell you what the woman’s name is.
Because the Register, like most mainstream newspapers, has a longstanding policy against printing the names of sexual assault victims, or even purported sexual assault victims.
Sure, as long as I toss in an occasional “allegedly” or “according to police,” I can cheerfully bandy Kobe’s name in the public prints as an accused sexual offender. But I can’t print hers. And somehow, you have to wonder if that’s really fair.
Of course, there are a lot of good reasons not to publicize the names of sexual assault victims. You don’t want to humiliate someone who’s already been victimized. And you certainly don’t want to make anyone reluctant to report a sexual assault for fear of having her name splashed all over the papers. So I’m not suggesting that the unwritten rule about keeping sexual assault victims’ names confidential should be abandoned. But in some cases maybe the rule should be voluntarily expanded a little bit.
At least until a few more facts are available – say, until after an indictment or a preliminary hearing, or some damning evidence has been made public – maybe the sexual assault confidentiality courtesy should be extended to the accused as well as to the accuser.
And maybe this case would have been a good place to start. I know, it’s probably foolish to think that someone like Kobe Bryant could ever keep his name out of the papers on something like this. His star status and nice guy image ensure that he’ll make the news if he so much as gets a jaywalking ticket. And who knows, maybe he’ll turn out to be guilty – in which case he’d deserve some extra punishment, in addition to the usual criminal penalties, for falsely making everybody think he was a good guy.
But if he turns out to be innocent, as he says he is, if it turns out there’s nothing to the allegations, the double standard at work in reporting sexual assault cases means that he’d still come out the loser. Because his name would always be publicly attached to the false accusations. And the false accuser’s name never would be.
(Ed: That’s the situation, as it first came out. But thankfully, we live in an age where we don’t have to bow down to the networks and their policies. Check out the following:)
The issue of naming sexual assault victims came up during the trial of Dr. William Kennedy Smith (nephew of the aquatic senator), accused of raping a woman on the lawn of the Kennedy compound in Palm Beach during Easter Weekend, 1991. NBC News let loose with her name, and the New York Times quickly followed suit, arguing NBC had already made it public. Other media went ‘tut ‘tut, as these insufferable liberals are prone to do. The NBC affiliate in the Peoples Republic of Boston bleeped the name out of the network feed. In the face of the backlash, the Times stopped using the name. Here is what the president of NBC News wrote by way of explanation. It makes lots of sense to me, as does Mr. Dillow’s column posted above.
First, we are in the business of disseminating news, not suppressing it.
Names and facts are news. They add credibility, they round out the story, they give the viewer or reader information he or she needs to understand issues, to make up his or her own mind about what’s going on. So my prejudice is always toward telling the viewer all the germane facts that we know.
Second, producers and editors and news directors should make editorial decisions; editorial decisions should not be made in courtrooms, or legislatures, or briefing rooms — or by persons involved in the news. That is why I oppose military censorship, legislative mandate, and the general belief that we should only print the names of rape victims who volunteer their names. In no other category of news do we give the newsmaker the option of being named. Those are decisions that should be made in newsrooms — one way or another.
Third, by not naming rape victims we are part of a conspiracy of silence, and that silence is bad for viewers and readers. In reinforces the idea that somehow there is something shameful about being raped.
Rape is a crime of violence, a horrible crime of violence. Rapists are horrible people; rape victims are not. One role of the press is to inform, and one way of informing is to destroy incorrect impressions and stereotypes.
Fourth, and finally, there is an issue of fairness. I heard no debate in our newsroom and heard of no debate in other newsrooms on whether we should name the suspect, William Smith. He has not been charged with anything. Yet we dragged his name and his reputation into this without thought, without regard to what might happen to him should he not be guilty — indeed, should he not even be charged. Rapists are vile human beings; but a suspect isn’t necessarily a rapist. Were we fair? Probably, yes, because he was thrust into the news, rightly or wrongly. But so was Patricia Bowman, and we should treat her the same way journalistically. We are reporters; we don’t take sides, we don’t pass judgment.
By the way, Dr. Smith was acquitted.
At the time all this was going on, Florida had a law against reporting the names of alleged sexual assault victims. However, there was a case wending its way to the Supreme Court, in which a woman had been awarded $100K from a newspaper that had accidentally printed her name. It had appeared in a routine, public police report collected by a cub reporter. However, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on First Amendment grounds (look up Florida Star vs. B.J.F.). Good for the Court!
(Ed: so what it seems to be saying to me is, if you’re a public figure, it’s okay to have your name dragged through the dirt, but if you’re an anonymous accuser, the system and the networks will attempt to block the release of any information. Again, thankfully, we live in a time when we can give the finger to that kind of attempt to control information. Now am I being mean, screaming for the exposure of accusers’ details? In some cases, like this, most certainly. Check out this posat that appeared on the newsgroup.)
Murder victims typically get no privacy. Their names are reported without any problem by news outlets. Rape victim info is withheld by news outlets for good reason because of the horrible nature of the crime, and the victim’s quest to carry on a normal life. MSNBC reports that Katelyn Faber discussed before 5 players at a party drinking card game, what Kobe Bryant’s penis looks like. All 5 people at the table have confirmed the story. Katelyn Faber should expect no privacy from this point forward. Kobe is accused of a crime that may put him in jail forever. It may also cost him a $10 million civil judgement directed Katelyn Faber, her mother, and her attorney. Why do they need so much money? Get a clue. Look at what’s important..
(Ed: Okay, no judgement on her for being a drinker or a party girl, that’s nothing. But tell me, innocent little Katelyn, if you’re such the victim, then what the hell were you doing discussing the size and shape of Kobe’s anatomy? Is that what rape victims do? At any rate, here’s the next newsgroup comment in the saga)
A young woman has made a hideous accusation against Kobe Bryant. Her friends are revelling in their own little “15 minutes of fame” just by their associations with the alleged victim. “Wow, Starlene..!! You was on the television..!!” The media pat themselves on the back for not revealing her name, but give out enough information so that any 6 year old with internet access (or just a good phone book) can figure it out.
(Ed: Here the writer makes a good point. Why have a non-disclosure policy when you’ve lost (because, mainly, of the internet) the power to enforce it. Read on and find out what all has been discovered by secret sleuths determined to break through and get the story on the accuser.)
Some ‘tards on this group evidently have this weird idea that posting publicly available information such as…
Katelyn Kristine Faber
0817 Brush Creek Court
Eagle, CO 81631
..is somehow “illegal”.
First of all, all of this information was publicly available long before the “alleged” rape took place. No constitutional law can force people to “unremember” certain facts about others, or punish people for revealing or publishing those facts. Don’t give me this bullshit that Slut Whore Katelyn Faber has a special expectation of “privacy”, and that nobody is permitted to mention her name, address, or any other information that’s freely available to anyone who wants it. She went to the police and made a public accusation against a public figure. As such, it is a matter of public record. Kudos and/or letters of commendation to Lucas White (“mosszonedotcom”), for bringing to light facts the news media didn’t have the balls to.
(Ed. As facts began to come to light, ESPN had an excellent article on the subject which I’ll share with you now. It’s a little long, but worth the read.)
(Ed. That’s the theme of this first part of our feature, excellently expressed in this article. The old rules are broken. You can’t shut the internet up. People working in network fashion will beat a handful of stuffed shirts with gag orders any time.)
Time to move on now from the liberating power of the internet to provide information and take a more in-depth look at the second and deeper part of our feature – the notion of “trial by media”: or trial by public opinion. We’ll start with a brief comment from the newsgroup that seemed to capture the essence yet display some irony.
Kobe Bryant was wrong for cheating on his wife with that 19-year-old white girl. I hope the sex was consent as he claim’s it to be, and not sexual assault as the 19 year old charges. His image publically will forever be tarnished if he sexually assaulted the girl or not because he still comitted adultry. The outcome of the court trail now if Kobe Bryant is found innocent of sexual assault, part of his image may be vindicated, but if found guilty by Eagle Colorado courts he could face 5-20 year jail sentence, or 20-life probation sentence, oouch!! just for getting some pussy. The question is rather who will the jury believe… Kobe Bryant or the 19-year-old Eagle Colorado girl. The 19-year-old girl identity has been greatly kept sealed from the public, and the only information that’s been able to be known about her has come from her friends, who say that she is a good girl who would never make a storie like this, to ride of the fame of a celebrity. We also know she was a cheerleader back in high school, and an excelent student. She also had tried out for American Idol, but never made it. Also note that Eagle Colorado investigators still havent released the evidence that have on Kobe Bryant that ties him to the sexual assault claims ( if they found Kobe’s DNA in her, that could only tell us that did have sex.). Kobe admit’s now that he did have sex with her, but it wasn’t sexual assault. After all this, i’ll think I’ll let the court deside on who’s innocent or guilty before I take judgement.
(Ed: Now can we all wake up and smell the hypocrisy? After stoking the fires of the ongoing trial of public opinion, he tells us “After all this, I think I’ll let the court decide….before I take judgement. Excuse my French, but bullshit. Next time OJ is rollin’ down the 5 in his white Bronco or whatever incarnation of this pattern is, this guy will be out there, glued to his set, and already deciding guilt or innocence.)
It occurs to me that while some of us (basketball fans and celebrity chasers) have been following the details of this pretty well, a lot of you may be unfamiliar with what is supposed to have happened. So let me now provide you with a police timeline that describes only the facts and timetable.
By Lance Pugmire and Steve Henson
Times Staff Writers
July 18, 2003
EAGLE, Colo. – These are the key events involving the arrest of Laker star Kobe Bryant on allegations he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old Eagle woman, pieced together by Times reporters who examined hotel records and conducted interviews with sheriff’s and crime lab investigators, law enforcement officials, hotel executives and employees, witnesses and other sources. The times, listed in Mountain time, in some cases are approximations.
June 30. Afternoon – Without informing the Lakers, Bryant takes a private flight to Eagle, where he has made arrangements to undergo an arthroscopic surgical procedure on his right knee at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in nearby Vail. The team had been expecting to meet with Bryant to discuss the problems he was having with tendinitis in the knee.
. 10 p.m. – Bryant and three male associates check in at the 56-room Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, a small town about halfway between Eagle and Vail. Bryant uses the alias, “Javier Rodriguez” and is assigned a first-floor room at the end of a long hall. The room next door is vacant. The room for his associates, at least two of whom are bodyguards, is registered to Michael Ortiz and it is located on the third floor.
10:15 p.m. – Bryant mills around the lobby, largely ignored by hotel employees who have been trained to respect the privacy of celebrity guests..
11 p.m. – A 19-year-old woman who works for the hotel as a concierge and receptionist goes off duty.
11:13 p.m. – A phone call lasting a few minutes is placed from Bryant’s room to what is believed to be his Newport Beach home, where his wife, Vanessa, and young daughter are staying.
. Before midnight: Bryant’s accuser goes to his room and stays for an undetermined length of time, according to several hotel employees. Sources differ on the precise time she went to the room.
12:36 a.m. – A pay-per-view movie is ordered in Bryant’s room.
Morning – Bryant undergoes arthroscopy at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, which will not divulge the time of the procedure.
Noon – Accompanied by her parents, Bryant’s accuser reports the alleged sexual assault to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department and is taken to Vail Valley Medical Center to undergo tests.
2-5 p.m. – Bryant returns from knee surgery and limps through the lobby toward his room. Later, he and his associates lounge in the lobby, playing chess, chatting and tipping well for their food and drink orders.
8:50 p.m. – A room service order of $39.01 is placed from Bryant’s room.
11:10 p.m. – Although room service normally ends at 10:30 p.m., an order of $20.66 is placed from Bryant’s room.
11:30 p.m. – Eagle County Sheriff’s investigators arrive at the Lodge & Spa to interview Bryant and collect evidence from his room. Investigators tell hotel security personnel they are not needed.
. 2:30 a.m. – Bryant is taken in a sheriff’s patrol car from the Lodge & Spa to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, 52 miles away. His three associates follow in a taxi van, appearing “nervous and anxious,” according to driver Terry O’Brien. One tells O’Brien he had to pick up “a friend” having “the worst day of his life.” Meanwhile, sheriff’s investigators retrieve a hotel computer printout of Bryant’s room purchases and phone records and tell employees not to speak publicly about the incident.
3 a.m. – Bryant provides samples of DNA at Valley View Hospital. In an effort to protect his privacy, he is tested at the Glenwood Springs facility rather than the much closer medical center in Vail.
3:30 a.m. – Bryant leaves the hospital and departs in a taxi with his associates. He covers his head with a towel and O’Brien is asked to keep the interior lights off so Bryant cannot be identified.
4:15 a.m. – Bryant and his associates check into the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs.
5 a.m. – One of Bryant’s associates returns to the Lodge & Spa to recover Bryant’s luggage and belongings. He returns to the Hotel Colorado at 5:45 a.m.
9:11 a.m. – Bryant is billed $50 by the Lodge & Spa for a manicure appointment he fails to keep because he checked out of the hotel earlier than expected.
7:15 p.m. – Bryant and associates leave the Hotel Colorado and take a flight back to Southern California, having been told, his attorneys say, that no arrest warrant will be issued or criminal charges filed until July 7, after the three-day Independence Day weekend.
5:30 p.m. – Eagle County Sheriff Joseph Hoy obtains an arrest warrant from district judge Russell Granger, sparking controversy because he did not go through the usual step of having it signed off by the district attorney, Mark D. Hurlbert.
Morning – Bryant’s Colorado-based attorney, Pamela Mackey, contacts him by phone in California and says, “You need to come and turn yourself in right now.”
Bryant returns to Eagle County by private plane, accompanied by his wife. He is fingerprinted, interviewed and booked on suspicion of felony sexual assault and false imprisonment at the Eagle County Justice Center. After posting $25,000 bond, he returns home to Newport Beach.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Department announces Bryant’s arrest. Mackey describes Bryant as distraught, but she says he expects to be exonerated. Laker General Manager Mitch Kupchak says the allegations are “completely out of character of the Kobe Bryant we know.”
Sheriff Hoy and Hurlbert hold a joint news conference. Says Hoy: “My investigators felt confident they did have evidence to seek the [arrest] paperwork.” Says Hurlbert: “Generally, the procedure is [the sheriff] comes to us but there is no law that says he can’t go to the judge first. It’s possible [Bryant] will be charged with sexual assault. It’s possible he will be charged with something else. It’s possible he won’t be charged with anything.”
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation receives physical evidence – typically in assault cases hair, blood or swabs or saliva, semen or sweat – from Bryant and his accuser.
1 p.m. – The accuser’s father confirms that his daughter, a former Eagle Valley High cheerleader and choir member, has made the allegations against Bryant. Later in the day, police are called to the neighborhood to disperse a crowd of reporters who have gathered at the family’s home.
Discussing the case for the only time publicly, Bryant tells The Times, “When everything comes clean, it will all be fine, you’ll see. But you guys know me, I shouldn’t have to say anything. You know I would never do something like that.”
The sheriff and district attorney’s offices begin to receive evidence back from CBI.
4 p.m. – The accuser’s father says, “You can’t say the D.A. hasn’t taken enough time to thoroughly analyze all of this.”
. In their first public appearance since the arrest, Bryant and wife, Vanessa, attend the ESPY Awards, a made-for-television sports awards show, at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.
1:30 p.m. – A district judge hears arguments that records pertaining to two non-criminal police visits to the accuser’s home in the last year be made public. Town manager William Powell acknowledges the visits could have a bearing on the Bryant case. “There is some indirect connection,” he says. The judge postpones his decision until July 25.
3 p.m. – Hurlbert calls a news conference at which he announces that he has filed a charge against Bryant of felony sexual assault. The charge carries possible penalties of four years to life in prison, or probation for 20 years to life.
6 p.m. PDT – Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, appear at a news conference with Bryant’s lawyer, Pamela Mackey. Bryant declares: “I’m innocent.”
(Ed: Just to illustrate the magnitude of information about Kobe being torn free and rammed down our throats, check out the following.)
Results 1 – 30 of about 1,870
For a look at Kobe, look at Kirby
Chicago Sun Times, IL – 5 hours ago
Todd Jones sat at his desk in Minneapolis on Friday evening, reading minute-by-minute updates on the Web about Kobe Bryant. An hour …
IS THIS LAKER A FAKER? ONLY A TRIAL WILL TELL
Chicago Sun Times, IL – 5 hours ago
You never know what’s behind the mask. You think you do, but you’re really just a sucker for hype, spin, perception and contrived imagery. …
Emphasis on infidelity misses the point
San Francisco Chronicle, CA – 4 hours ago
It had to be the worst move Kobe Bryant has ever made in public. In front of a national TV audience, he turned to his young wife …
Kobe Bryant: A fallen superstar
Chicago Sun Times, IL – 5 hours ago
After Michael Jordan retired, Kobe Bryant became the hope of the NBA. A handsome, smart, squared-away kid. A brilliant basketball player. …
Bryant’s image sullied by sex assault charge
Hindustan Times, India – 6 hours ago
Kobe Bryant’s claim that he is guilty of nothing more than an adulterous tryst with a teenage girl may have helped kick start his legal defence, but it also …
Kobe not so ‘squeaky clean’
Calgary Sun, Canada – 7 hours ago
By AP. It’s been that way since he joined the Los Angeles Lakers seven years ago, fresh out of a suburban Philadelphia high school. …
Charges filed against Kobe Bryant
Taipei Times, Taiwan – 9 hours ago
Kobe Bryant was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in a case bound to tarnish the career of one of the NBA’s brightest young superstars.
Residents of Colorado town support Bryant’s accuser
San Jose Mercury News, CA – 9 hours ago
By HEATHER LOURIE and MARCIA C. SMITH. EAGLE, Colo. – At the bustling Eagle Diner, where the customers at the counter have an unobstructed …
MSNBC – 11 hours ago
Vanessa Bryant shouldnÆt stand by her man. By Bill Williamson. HOWEVER, THE JURY is already in on one count. He has made a victim of 21-year-old Vanessa Bryant. …
NBA says Bryant can join Lakers for camp
San Jose Mercury News, CA – 11 hours ago
BY MAGGIE HABERMAN AND TRACY CONNOR. NEW YORK – (KRT) – LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant can continue driving the lane while he prepares …
Hope on hold for Lakers fans
Sporting News – 11 hours ago
The quote jumped out amid the usual assortment of advertisements for upcoming eventsand pitches for premier seats on the giant Staples Center message board …
Bryant Case Puts Small Town in Spotlight
New York Times – 14 hours ago
EAGLE, Colo., July 19 The officer who obtained the original warrant for Kobe Bryant’s arrest may have taught the woman Bryant is accused of sexually assaulting
Kobe’s future could hinge on believability, image
ESPN – 14 hours ago
On one side is Kobe Bryant, among the world’s most recognizable athletes. Young, successful and classy, Bryant’s reputation until …
Bryant Charged With Sex Assault
Newsday – 15 hours ago
By Greg Logan. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, the heir apparent to Michael Jordan as the National Basketball Association’s …
Bryant Case Challenges View of Heroes
Kansas City Star, MO – 18 hours ago
From the moment he joined the NBA, Kobe Bryant cultivated a sparkling image, free of trouble or even a hint of scandal. Now a sexual …
Colo. Town No Stranger to Spotlight
San Jose Mercury News, CA – 18 hours ago
EAGLE, Colo. – If Kobe Bryant goes on trial here, it won’t be the first time this rural town of 3,500 has been overrun by reporters. …
Defensive Kobe uses wrong strategy
MSNBC – 20 hours ago
HE DIDNÆT USE the words ôrapeö or ôsexual assaultö or any other qualifier, leaving us to conclude that he meant he wouldnÆt have sex with a woman …
Becker: Bryant case turns on consent, evidence
CNN – 22 hours ago
(CNN) — The district attorney in Eagle County, Colorado, charged Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant with one count of sexual assault. …
Bryant charged but proclaims his innocence
Miami Herald, FL – 23 hours ago
By MATTHEW P. BLANCHARD. EAGLE, Colo. – Basketball star Kobe Bryant on Friday was charged with one count of felony sexual assault …
Player faces sex charge
The Age, Australia – 23 hours ago
Los Angeles Laker basketball star Kobe Bryant has been charged with sexual assault, after an alleged incident at a Colorado mountain resort almost three weeks
Basketball star accused of rape
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia – 23 hours ago
By MICHAEL McKENNA in Los Angeles. THE man once touted as basketball’s next Michael Jordan was last night charged with sexual assault …
With future at stake, Lakers star plays the reputation card
San Diego Union Tribune, CA – Jul 19, 2003
Infidelity is regrettable, even reproachable, but rape is repugnant. In defending himself against a felony charge of sexual assault …
PRIVATE WORLD PIERCED
San Jose Mercury News, CA – Jul 19, 2003
We do not know what Kobe Bryant has to hide or protect, or why he has been anxious for so long to keep so many parts of his life from public view. …
Bryant’s problems are just beginning
Boston Globe, MA – Jul 19, 2003
By Bob Ryan, Globe Columnist, 7/19/2003. Kobe Bryant has led a very charmed life, but now he’s going to find out what trouble is, and …
Guilty only of adultery, Bryant says
Toronto Star, Canada – Jul 19, 2003
EAGLE, Colo.ù Kobe Bryant was charged yesterday with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in a case bound to tarnish the career of one of the NBA’s …
DA files charge against Bryant
Seattle Times, WA – Jul 19, 2003
By Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press. EAGLE, Colo. ù Kobe Bryant, one of the most talented and dynamic basketball players …
Tearful Kobe Bryant says he’s innocent of sexual assault charge
San Francisco Chronicle, CA – Jul 18, 2003
His voice quavering, his eyes wet with tears, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant clutched his wife’s hand tightly and declared that he did not sexually …
Charge forever spoils squeaky-clean image
Arizona Republic, AZ – Jul 18, 2003
If Kobe Bryant is convicted of a third-degree felony for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old Colorado woman, or his attorneys negotiate a guilty plea …
Bryant begs forgiveness from wife and fans
Hindustan Times, India – Jul 18, 2003
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant made a surprise public appearance here Friday, where he begged his wife and fans for forgiveness and denied sexually …
NBA star denies sexual assault
BBC News, UK – Jul 18, 2003
US basketball star Kobe Bryant has rejected charges that his sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman. Bryant fought back tears as …
(Ed: Kinda makes you wonder what the other 1840 results would have turned up. But the point I’m driving at here is that no attempt was ever made to keep Kobe’s name or reputation out of the media – they jumped on this one like bull-riders at a rodeo.)
Now we’re going to take a slight detour, leave ol’ Kobe alone for a minute, and begin to lay out for you facts collected by an international network of snoopers about innocent little Katelyn.
“The town buzzed with word of her personal difficulties.” Can’t wait to see her take the stand.
July 11, 2003
Ugly stage begins
The going really gets tough from here. Reporters have begun digging into information that the young woman whom Kobe Bryant allegedly sexually assaulted has endured a gantlet of personal crises, including this one.
The implications of how emotional blows have affected her before she bumped into the star basketball player are inescapable, even if irrelevant to physical evidence and other facts of this case. But attorneys get paid to win, and will at almost any cost, even if it means crucifying a teenager.
The tragedy here is that it does not appear that the district attorney or sheriff had knowledge of this when the sheriff had Bryant arrested in secret on the Fourth of July before the district attorney had a chance to decide what, if any, charges to file against Bryant.
Questioned Thursday, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert appeared surprised. Friday morning he spent quality time at the home of the young woman. Later, naturally,
he had no comment other than he’d continue to weigh the evidence as it comes in and decide perhaps next week on where to go from here.
Sheriff Joe Hoy offered another no comment when asked Friday. The bet from this seat is that he was pretty surprised, as well.
This should not have been. The town buzzed with word of her personal difficulties. There appear to be records of police contact that the local department is adamant about not releasing.
The Daily and at least one other publication have asked the Eagle Police Department for records of any calls to the young woman’s home in the past year as part of their inquiries. The records we seek are not of criminal nature and were not included in a judge’s order to seal the Kobe Bryant case files. They may or may not be germane to the case.
Still, it’s surprising if investigators did not look carefully at past events in the young woman’s life before exposing her to obvious inquiries by reporters from all over the country – and later, if charges are filed, by the accused’s defense teams.
It’s one thing to surprise the district attorney with a premature arrest, but unconscionable to proceed when the result will be to leave the woman and her family vulnerable to relatively simple reporting. Maybe the sheriff and district attorney had no idea, but enough townsfolk knew enough to set at least some of the press on this path. The national reporters are good at what they do, and they have covered tough stories in small towns before. The rule of thumb for authorities should be that if there’s anything in a person’s past that may come to light, they ought to count on it coming out and factor it into their decisions.
The sheriff does not appear to have considered this when he made his remarkable decision that brought the circus to town.
(Ed: “The ugly stage has begun” – sums it up pretty neat, I’d say. Read on for more details from the ugly stage.)
The next morning she told her mother and a friend about what happened, Bray said.
“It was her mother that knew right away what happened,” Bray said. It was her mother, Bray said, who told the woman, “You were raped.”
(Ed: Now hold on a minute here. This girl needed her damned MOM to tell her it was rape? Granted, I’m sensitive to the different forms of rape and the confusion they engender in the victims, but something is starting to smell fishy to me.)
“She’s kind of in hiding right now,” said Starlene Bray on ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America. “She’s been back and forth from Denver, kind of trying to avoid the media and the press right now,” she said.
“She did seek some medical help,” Bray says. “She knew she needed it, so she went and got it. She was definitely emotionally fragile, but I don’t think it had anything to do with what happened,” she said.
Bray described the young woman as “a good friend, trustworthy, thoughtful, warm-hearted.”
“Well, when I first talked to her, she seemed really distraught in the fact that it had happened to her,” Bray said. “She didn’t know what was going to happen to her. She was just scared,” she said.
(Ed: As one newsgroup poster put it, “”I’m so scared”…… hey, I got an idea!!!!! Let’s go on vacation!!!!!!! Yah, that’s the ticket!!!!!! go out of your home environment after being sexually assaulted!!!!!!! That’ll really prove I’m “scared”………”)
More info on Ms. Faber’s shaky mental status.
July 11, 2003
Friends: Emotional upheavals strengthen woman
A series of emotional upheavals led to a doctor’s care this spring for the woman accusing Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.
According to friends and authorities, the death of her best friend, coupled with a relationship that ended, led the woman to seek medical help to deal with her situation.
“She knew she needed help and she got it. Anyone who tries to make it into something more than that is a liar,” said one friend, responding to rumors of suicide attempts.
(Ed: Is something beginning to take shape here? The concept that this was not some sweet, innocent, mentally stable young woman, but rather someone who had a history of problems? Read on…)
Bryant accuser earlier overdosed amid anguish, friends say
By HEATHER LOURIE and MARCIA C. SMITH
The Orange County Register
(Ed: cracks seem to be appearing in Katelyn’s “sweet innocent” facade.)
(Ed: suicide attempts, overdoses, medical attention, drinking games, bragging about Kobe’s penis, just who is this girl anyway?)
Wednesday, July 9
Woman accuses Bryant of sexual misconduct
ESPN.com news services
EAGLE, Colo. — The 19-year-old Colorado woman who accused Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant of sexual assault will come home from a family vacation to what Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy described as “mind-boggling” media attention.
Hoy confirmed the woman’s age Tuesday and said she was on vacation with her family, but is expected to return this week.
Hoy said he was concerned about the pressure on the woman and frustrated that there was more attention on Bryant than on her.
“To me, the sad part is if this hadn’t been who it involved, this wouldn’t even be a blip on anyone’s radar screen,” he said. “Personally, I think they’re focusing on our suspect rather than on the victim.”
Hoy also said investigators have sent unspecified evidence to the state Bureau of Investigation for analysis, but refused to discuss other details of the case. A bureau official would only say the work has begun.
Prosecutors Monday said they needed more time before deciding whether to bring charges against Bryant, 24, who is accused of assaulting the woman at a resort near Vail last week.
“Sexual assault cases are extremely complex and sometimes it takes awhile to get through everything,” Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Monday. “It may be beyond the end of the week.”
He refused to discuss details of the allegations against the five-time NBA All-Star. Hurlbert said the alleged victim was “doing OK, considering the circumstances.”
Under Colorado law, sexual assault could range from fondling to rape.
Bryant’s lawyer said Bryant “expects to be completely exonerated,” and accused the sheriff’s office of rushing the case.
Bryant turned himself in to authorities Friday, the sheriff’s office said. The married father of a baby girl was released that day after posting $25,000 bond.
Officials at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, a gated resort in Edwards, said Bryant stayed there June 30-July 2.
The Cordillera is a sprawling resort that shares heavily forested land above the town of Edwards with large private homes. The spa boasts a golf course, pools and a large equestrian center that stand in sharp contrast to the working-class roots of the town.
Sitting outside an Edwards shopping center, Niko Potts, 40, said he had heard of the case.
“If he’s some major sports star, they always get the short end of the stick,” said Potts, a hairdresser who lives in Edwards. “They’re targets. I don’t think he’s the kind of guy who needs to go around molesting people.”
Bryant’s attorney has said he was in Colorado for surgery on his right knee at Vail’s Steadman Hawkins Clinic. No other details were released by authorities, and the case has been sealed by a judge.
The sheriff’s office said Bryant has been cooperative.
Bryant’s attorneys accused the sheriff’s office of “complete bias” and said it ignored the wishes of the district attorney in obtaining the arrest warrant.
“Contrary to the direct instruction of the district attorney’s office, the Eagle County sheriff’s office sought and obtained an arrest warrant … this action illustrates the complete bias of the sheriff’s office,” said Denver attorney Pamela Mackey in a statement released earlier Monday.
Mackey did not immediately return a call seeking elaboration.
At Monday’s news conference, Hurlbert refused to address Mackey’s claims.
“What’s done is done,” said Hurlbert, standing a few feet away from Sheriff Joe Hoy, whose office is leading the investigation. “I’m not going to comment on whether it was prudent or not. A judge found probable cause.”
Hoy said his investigators learned of the case July 1 and spent nearly 30 hours on the case before contacting Bryant. Defense attorneys were notified on July 3 and Bryant returned to Colorado the next day, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Andree said.
“There wasn’t any urgency. We felt we were doing the right thing for everyone involved,” Hoy said. “We wanted to give people the time to themselves to adjust” because of the July Fourth holiday.
Attempts to reach Bryant were not successful, and his whereabouts were not known.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the allegations against his All-Star guard were completely out of character.
“For the seven years he’s been with us, he has been one of the finest young men we’ve known and a wonderful asset to both our team and our community,” he said. An NBA spokesman declined comment.
Nike would not comment on Bryant’s case.
“We’re pleased to work with Kobe Bryant as he is a great player,” Nike spokesman Nigel Powell told ESPN.com. “But since this is a legal matter, we cannot comment at this time.”
Bryant recently signed a five-year endorsement deal with Nike believed to be worth more than $8 million per year.
After concluding it had enough evidence for a felony sexual assault charge, the sheriff’s office sought the arrest warrant directly from a judge. In Colorado, police and sheriff’s deputies can arrest someone on suspicion of a crime but only the district attorney’s office can file charges.
Hurlbert said he was aware of the case, but didn’t know why authorities didn’t request a warrant through his office. Kim Andree, spokeswoman for the sheriff, said it is not unusual for authorities to go directly to a judge and she dismissed speculation of a rift between prosecutors and the sheriff’s office.
Bryant married Vanessa Laine in April 2001. The two met on the set of a music video where Laine was working, and got engaged while she was still in high school. Vanessa gave birth to their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant, in January.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
(Ed: Well, Sheriff, let me help you out a little here by focusing on your accuser and not your suspect, as you complained about. Because it seems to this writer like you’ve got a hardon against Kobe and are willing to break protocol and do anything in your power to make an example of Kobe. Even Potts, who we quoted, doesn’t think it sounds likely. So let’s turn our attention away for a second from these backwoods Deputy Dawgs and hear from a journalist who’s got something to say about Kobe)
I’m with Kobe
Posted: July 22, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
¬ 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Los Angeles Laker basketball player Kobe Bryant has been charged with felony sexual assault. This could be the end of his professional basketball career. It will almost certainly mean great monetary damage through the loss of commercial endorsements and other opportunities.
I will draw on my experiences representing athletes as an attorney to share some thoughts with you. Kobe Bryant is an athlete. This means that he is a target. After virtually every NBA basketball game you will find women hovering around arena exits who are willing to throw themselves into bed with almost any athlete that walks out of that door.
Some of these women just want another notch on their garter belt. Some of them are looking for something more – they’re looking for money – lots of money. Their intention is to lie about birth control and have unprotected sex with the hope of getting pregnant. They know that having the child of a wealthy athlete is a guarantee of easy street for at least 18 years. No work, nice house, nice cars – the works.
Sound harsh? Trust me, these women are out there. The large brain of every athlete is aware of this fact. Disaster happens when they let the small brain do all the thinking. These athletes have been warned, but the testosterone level is almost as high as the hoop. Go have yourself a good time, then get out your checkbook.
The women who are merely looking for bragging rights of sex with a top athlete present another danger. That danger comes from the possibility of feelings of
regret and humiliation, even fear. The danger the athlete faces is prison.
We have a case in Georgia right now where a high-school athlete has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the rape of a classmate. Many who have studied the case believe this young man to be innocent. He’s a National Honor Society student and scored over 1200 on his SATs. Hardly the profile of a sexual predator. But, the athlete is black and his victim was a white girl.
Some, me included, believe that somehow the girl’s parents found out about an episode of consensual sex between the two, or at least the girl worried that this was about to happen. She was scared to death that her parents were going to find that she had been dating a young black man. Her solution? Claim she was raped. This black kid raped her. She then, in my opinion, stood back and watched this kid go off to 15 years in prison because she didn’t want her parents and friends to find out the truth.
False accusations of rape are by no means unusual. In some cases, they are the rule. Eugene Kanin of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Purdue did a study of a small metropolitan community. The study covered rape allegations over a 9-year period. Dr. Kanin found that “False rape allegations constituted 41 percent of the total forcible rapes reported during [that] period.”
A Harvard law professor reports that the woman in charge of prosecuting sexual-assault crimes in New York reported that out of approximately 4,000 rape allegations in Manhattan each year, about one-half of them just didn’t happen. Another study states that 50 percent of all rape allegations lodged on college campuses in the United States are false.
Bryant is accused of rape in Eagle County, Colo. Eagle County is not exactly a black Mecca. Kobe Bryant’s alleged rape victim is white. My gut feeling is that the sex was consensual, and then the regret and fear set in. Then came the rape allegation – an allegation possibly designed to save face and avoid embarrassment. Now that this matter has gone this far, perhaps the accuser is frightened – too frightened to step forward and put a halt to this disaster by telling the truth.
If Kobe Bryant forcibly raped this girl, send him to jail … for a long time. If he is being put on trial because some young girl regrets a romp in the sack with an athlete and is afraid for her reputation, then the wrong person is going to trial.
In the meantime, we have a good lesson for other athletes out there, especially the younger ones who are loaded with athletic talent but not too burdened with judgment and common sense. Those women fawning over you can be dangerous. Your very freedom may be at jeopardy, not just your career. While you’re doing your thing on the basketball court, there are predator’s eyes watching your every move. Think.
(Ed: The race card had to come up at some point, and this gentleman brings it out of the subconscious and into print.)
Folks around Vail appear insulated from all things Bryant. One day after the Laker guard was charged, locals and tourists strolled the steep streets of fashionable Beaver Creek Village, an enclave of resorts and boutiques five miles west of Vail. A mountain bike race was underway, a jazz band played outdoors and children frolicked on an ice rink.
“It’s almost like [the case] happened in a different part of the country,” says Cindy Osborne, working at Beaver Creek Fine Art Gallery. “It’s a big yawn.”
“Everybody wishes the media would just go away,” says Lindsey Lucas, a 20-year-old former Eagle Valley High classmate of the accuser who works delivering flowers. “I want justice for whoever deserves to have justice served, but we don’t want the attention.
The case must wind its way through the justice system, and that means Eagle County will remain in the spotlight.
“I wish it would all go away, but it won’t,” says Jon Cornell, another Texaco regular. “You can’t forget about it, but it’d be nice if you could.”
(Ed: The hypocrisy here makse my stomach roll. They “wish it would all go away”? Kobe didn’t bring these charges against himself. You choose to play accuse-a-celebrity in 2003 and the media’s going to be on you like a swarm of bees.)
EAGLE, Colo., July 22; The 19-year-old woman who accused Kobe Bryant of sexually assaulting her attended a party just days before charges were filed against Bryant and appeared to be in a good mood and “bragging” about the incident, several teen-agers at the party told NBC News on Tuesday. Another friend told the Associated Press that the woman had “visible evidence” of the alleged attack a week later.
THE ALLEGED VICTIM was at a party three days before the charges were filed and appeared to be in a good mood, NBC News reported, citing five party attendees.
“She was bragging about it,” party host Steve Evancho told NBC News.
The victim described Bryant’s anatomy when asked about it at the party, the host said.
Another friend gave a different impression of the victim, saying she was still “shaken up” by what happened.
Luke Bray declined to be more specific out of respect for his friend and her family.
“There is visible evidence of what happened,” he said.
Bray, 21, said he saw the woman about a week after the alleged assault on June 30. “She was still shaken up. She was pretty much in denial,” he said. “She couldn’t believe it.”
(Ed: Does this fit the picture of a traumatized rape victim? Not to me. So let’s take a look next at some cold data on rape accusations.)
With the cooperation of the police agency of a small metropolitan community, 45 consecutive, disposed, false rape allegations covering a 9 year period were studied. False rape allegations constitute 41% of the total forcible rape cases (109) reported during this period. These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations. [False rape allegations are reported in similar numbers at college campuses; approximately 50% of rape charges are admitted to be false by the accuser.]
Currently, the two main identifiable adversaries involved in the false rape allegations controversy are the feminists and the police. The feminists are by far the most expressive and prominent on this issue. Some feminists take the position that the declaration of rape as false or unfounded largely means that the police do not believe the complainant; that is, the rape charges are real reflections of criminal assault, but the agents of the criminal justice system do not believe them (Brownmiller, 1975; Russell, 1984). Some feminists virtually deny the existence of false rape accusations and believe the concept itself constitutes discriminatory harassment toward women (see Grano, 1990). On the other hand, police are prone to say the reason for not believing some rape complainants resides in the fact that the
rapes never occurred (Payton, 1967; Wilson, 1978; Jay, 1991). Medical Examiners lend support to this police position by emphasizing the ever-present possibility that rape complainants may be lying (Shill, 1969, 1971).
(Ed: Despite the utter failure of Katelyn and her legal crew to maintain a media blackout – except where Kobe is concerned – the same group of friends who’ve been our primary source of information are being told to keep quiet. Why? Is it that they’re afraid that the picture being painted with their info is not the aqueaky-clean anonymous victim-girl they want to present Katelyn as?)
Friends and family of Kobe Bryant’s accuser have some advice for those continuing to talk to the national media swarming all over the story: Cut it out.
“I would encourage people to not talk to the media,” said Krista Flannigan, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office. “If they have information, they should give it to the district attorney. The district attorney is prosecuting the case, not the media.”
Flannigan said the alleged victim’s family has asked her friends to stop granting interviews and most have gone along.
“They’ve contacted some of the friends and asked them not to talk any more,” said Flannigan. “Several interviews were cancelled yesterday.”
The mother of one of the alleged victim’s friends said it bluntly: “These kids are not helping,” she said. “It’s time for these kids to stop talking, or it’s time for their parents to make them stop talking.”
Most of the faux pas and gaffs reach District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, who is prosecuting the case. He also hears the swirling rumors about the alleged victim and Bryant.
“Friends and so-called friends are apt to say just about anything,” said Hurlbert.
So far, “friends” have discussed with the media the victim’s problems before she was allegedly assaulted by Bryant and some of her outings afterward.
“If they’re “friends’ who are talking, you might want to question their validity,” said Flannigan.
Flannigan said local people have good intentions in trying to support the family and the victim, but the media is savvy.
“People can ask, “How this is going to be used?’ They have a right to know,” said Flannigan. “Usually, though, if they’re asked a question, they answer it.”
But you don’t have to, Flannigan said.
“The safety and well being of the victim are our utmost concern,” said Flannigan. “Our other priority is to maintain Eagle as a viable trial site. We have to be concerned with it as a venue”
(Ed: What follows is commentary on the above newspaper – not the same author.)
Okay, good article or whatever, but check out the last line again:
“It infuriates me that he is given the benefit of the doubt,” says Redmond. “She’s not doing this to get famous, and she’s not going to get wealthy from it.”
Again, “It infuriates me that he is given the benefit of the doubt,”
I agree, what is this America or something, innocent until proven guilty, what kind of bullshit is that?
(Ed: See, that’s what I’m talking about. This is not “Justice in America” – this is reality TV that’s actually reality. And despite the city-wide campaign to take a bite out of Kobe, it’s pleasing to see that not everyone in Vail is taking Katelyn’s story for much.)
“Everybody’s still liking Kobe,” said J.R. Diaz, store manager at Sports Treasures in MainPlace.
Sales of Bryant gear have increased dramatically at his store since the allegations surfaced, Diaz said. In the past two weeks, Sports Treasures sold 20 to 25 Bryant jerseys, almost twice as many as usual, he said.
“Women make up about 80 percent of those who buy Bryant gear, he said.
“They all come in and get the kid-size jerseys,” said Ray Rogalski, the store’s assistant manager. Bryant jerseys have been so popular among women at Sports Treasures that the smaller sizes are sold out, Diaz said.
(Ed: The following are all quoted posts made from individuals – not journalists – on the asbnll newsgroup in response to the events.)
Kobe has labelled himself as just another young NBA guy living live on the edge with no regard for consequences to himself or anyone else. Girl could be lying her ass off, but for this to have gotten this far it’s doubtful Kobe wasn’t doing something he shouldn’t.
Right, what was she doing going into his room if she was not there under her occupational duties? What did she think was going to happen if she went in Kobe’s room except sex? The problem is that that argument did not work for Mike Tyson who argued that his victim knew (or should have known) that she was coming up for sex. That sex was implicit in the invitation. The other side argued that she was just going up to party and that an invitation to party is not the same as an invitation for sex. Tyson lost and went to jail. Kobe’s woman could derive a similar argument. She went in there prospectively to see his video game collection and instead saw his balls.
Some people are saying this is a publicity stunt by NIKE and Kobe, so that he can sell more shoes for them. Give him that street cred that he’s lacking.
Street cred wif da homeys, sell more Nikes. Smack a ho, sell a shoe.
Don’t believe for a minute that Nike will drop Kobe because of the sexual assault charges.
The girl’s not 19, she’s actually 28, and works for Nike’s media consultants. Taking one for the team, as it were. Apparently, the chief of police and the DA didn’t get their season tickets in the mail yet.
You heard it here first.
Innocent men are quick to exonerate themselves in public, something Kobe has not done yet, instead we have Kobe plotting with his own dream team of highly overpaid lawyers planning how to keep his ass out of the slammer and somehow even cash in on all the publicity and improve his rep on “the street”. Sickening if you ask me
(Ed: And finally, the one-liner that sums it all up and ties it all together.)
That’s how it is now. guilty till proven innocent in a trial by media.
And so ends this jumbled yet connected saga of stories and counter-stories, privacy invasions and secrets that they don’t want getting out. Once again, let me sum up the two points of this feature, now that you’ve had a chance to examine the evidence.
1. Privacy laws, non-disclosure acts, and the like, are fading away in their effectiveness in the sweeping tide of the internet and its capable users. You can’t keep secrets anymore unless you’re John Connor, “living off the grid.” Friends will talk even if you won’t. Records are out there. This is NOT just about a rape case and its participants, it’s about something bigger, a somewhat sluggish and definitely reluctant admission on the parts of the media controllers that they can’t keep secrets any more. I mean, look at it – what you’ve got in your hands is “media” and it’s cobbled together from various internet sources. The mass media is, as Kevin Kelly noted, becoming the mess media. What this means to you as a conscious human: Fight, fight, fight against any bills or proposals to limit internet access, to encourage stiffer penalties for exchanging information. We’ve been calling this last decade (with the net as its model) a revolution – well, if this hasn’t been one battle for the revolutionaries to claim, then I don’t know what is.
2. The last anonymous one-line quote above says it all. We’ve moved from a model where one is innocent till proven guilty in a court of law, to one where someone is guilty until proven innocent in the trial of public opinion, in the courtrooms of the media. I can’t tell you how to “fight” this, I just want to make it clear that these changes are happening.