Friday , Jun , 25 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Late August trial date set in Kobe case

Eagle, CO (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case will begin on
August 27, a date selected by State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle late
Friday afternoon.

Ruckriegle came to the decision after both the prosecution and the defense
said they would be ready for trial by the end of August during a pretrial
hearing earlier this week.

The court also denied requests by both sides to include preliminary
questionnaires when jury summonses are mailed out to county resident via an
automated computer system. Ruckriegle said such a measure would further delay
setting a trial date, thus negating its benefit.

Approximately 1,000 potential jurors will be called at the start of the trial.
Lawyers suggested the preliminary questionnaire would have saved time by
helping to eliminate jurors based on their answers.

The trial is expected to last about a month.

In related news, a court reporter accidentally released the transcripts of a
two-day hearing closed to the public. The judge issued an order Thursday
threatening contempt of court if the information is published.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard is accused of sexually assaulting a woman nearly
a year ago at a Colorado resort, a Class 3 felony with penalties ranging from
four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

The 25-year-old Bryant, who was in Colorado for surgery on his right knee at
the time of the alleged assault, claimed the two had consensual sex.

The next set of pretrial hearings is scheduled for July 19-21.