Thursday , Apr , 01 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Bryant faces judge in sexual assault case

Eagle, CO (Sports Network) – Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will have
his first hearing in front of the judge that will preside over his sexual
assault trial on Thursday.

It is expected that Judge Terry Ruckriegle of Eagle County will advise Bryant
of his rights, the formal charge against him and the penalty he faces if
convicted. The judge also could change Bryant’s $25,000 bond and set upcoming
hearing dates.

Bryant could enter a plea during the hearing, and the trial would then be
scheduled within six months of the plea, unless he waives his right to a
speedy trial. The attorneys for both sides usually discuss plea arrangements
in advance with the judge, but no such conversations have taken place in this
case, and it is unlikely Bryant would enter a plea.

The Lakers have home games Wednesday and Friday, sandwiching Thursday’s
hearing. Bryant’s attorneys did not request that the 25-year-old superstar be
allowed to miss this appearance, as they did for his hearing scheduled for
August 6.

Bryant was charged with felony sexual assault after his accuser, a 19-year-old
Colorado woman, said he raped her on June 30 at a mountain resort where she
worked, and where he was a guest. The Los Angeles Lakers star has maintained
the sex was consensual.

If Bryant is convicted, he could face four years to life in prison and 20
years to life on probation.