Bryant's accuser files civil suit

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

By Don Mitchell ~ The Associated Press

DENVER -- The 20-year-old woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape filed a federal lawsuit against the NBA star Tuesday, seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering and "public scorn, hatred and ridicule" she has suffered as a result of the alleged attack.

The attorneys asked for a jury trial and compensatory damages of at least $75,000, with punitive damages to be determined later.

With the filing, the woman's attorneys backed up a threat they made a week ago. A criminal case requires a higher standard of proof to convict -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- and punishment can involve prison time. A civil case has a lower standard of proof -- a preponderance of evidence -- and punishment is usually a monetary award.

Bryant 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault. He has said he had consensual sex with the woman, then 19, at the Vail-area resort where she worked last summer. The Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine of up to $750,000 if convicted. Jury selection begins Aug. 27.

"The conduct of defendant Bryant demonstrates willful, reckless and intentional criminal conduct and that entire want of care that raises a conscious indifference to consequences," the attorneys wrote.

Bryant's defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, did not immediately return a message seeking comment and neither did the woman's attorneys, John Clune and L. Lin Wood. All attorneys in the case were reminded by the judge last week that a sweeping gag order is in place.

Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said the civil lawsuit changes nothing for the criminal trial.

"We are still moving forward," she said. She declined comment when asked whether the civil case could complicate the effort to win a conviction.

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