Lakers star arrested after sexual assault complaint

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 7, 2003

DENVER (AP) - Prosecutors are considering whether to file charges against Kobe Bryant after a woman accused the Los Angeles Lakers' star of sexual misconduct at a hotel near Vail.

The 24-year-old basketball player was released after turning himself in Friday and posting a $25,000 bond on suspicion of felony sexual assault, the Eagle County sheriff's office said Sunday.

The woman, who was not identified, told sheriff's deputies on Tuesday that Bryant sexually assaulted her the previous night in a hotel in the Edwards area. No other details were released about the case, which has been sealed by a judge.

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The Denver Post reported Monday that Paul Pastoor, general manager for the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, confirmed that Bryant stayed at the Edwards hotel. Bryant, who was not available for comment, was in the area to have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic.

''Kobe is innocent,'' Bryant's Denver-based lawyer, Pamela Mackey, told the Los Angeles Times. ''Can you imagine being accused of this? It's awful.''

After a series of interviews and a review of the physical evidence, investigators met with representatives for District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and concluded they had enough evidence for the felony sexual assault count, the sheriff's office said.

Hurlbert said Sunday night he hadn't made a decision on whether to file charges and had not yet seen the arrest report.

He said the sheriff's office asked a judge for an arrest warrant instead of requesting one through his office, the usual practice. In Colorado, police officers can make an arrest on suspicion of a crime but only the district attorney's office can file charges.