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.LAL