Bryant's lawyers drop bid to seal evidence

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

EAGLE, Colo. -- Kobe Bryant's attorneys abruptly dropped a bid to seal evidence in the NBA star's rape case Monday, saying the details would be leaked anyway and that releasing all the documents will reveal how unprofessional the prosecution was.

In a scathing court filing, defense attorney Pamela Mackey alleged "unlawful or improper conduct" by law enforcement officers and prosecutors in the case, including the leaking of information and suppression of evidence suggesting Bryant was innocent.

Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert dropped the felony sexual assault charge against Bryant at the alleged victim's request Sept. 1. He recently said evidence and documents in the case should be released, saying the public's interest in reviewing actions and decisions by prosecutors and the judge outweighed Bryant's privacy concerns.

While the case was pending, Hurlbert had said releasing the information could make it difficult to find impartial jurors to decide whether Bryant assaulted a 19-year-old woman at a Vail-area resort last year. Bryant admitted only to having consensual sex with the resort employee, now 20.

News organizations, including The Associated Press, filed requests to obtain the evidence and unseal the case files.

There was no immediate indication whether District Judge Richard Hart would open the files after the defense's court filing Monday.

Bryant's lawyers earlier had asked Hart to seal the evidence and documents, saying they include "highly sensitive, confidential, embarrassing and private" matters of interest only for "salacious and other improper purposes."

Bryant still faces a federal civil suit filed by the accuser seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering, "public scorn, hatred and ridicule."

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