Colorado prosecutor Mark Hurlburt decided last Thursday he had enough evidence to charge Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant with sexual assault, the Vail Daily reports. He gave the alleged victim and her family a day’s advance notice, as he had promised. Then on Friday, he told the world that he could convict Bryant. To make that case, there had to be sexual contact – penetration – and there had to violence or the threat of violence. Hurlbert says, “It appears I can prove my case beyond a reasonable doubt.” Bryant, denying criminal guilt, calls it a case of consensual sex.
The Denver Post reports that Hurlburt, the sandy-haired, 34-year-old, puts on a brave, resolute face for the cameras while acknowledging that his youth and relatively modest experience haven’t adequately prepared him for what lies ahead. “I’m not sure anybody can prepare for the media onslaught, even somebody with a lot of years of experience,” he said. “Although I may not, in the big scheme of things, have a whole lot of experience in my nine years, I have prosecuted several sex assaults,” he said. “I have prosecuted two first-degree murder cases. … I do have the experience to prosecute a sexual-assault case.” Other prosecutors and defense attorneys say Hurlbert is perhaps a bit wide-eyed and out of his league.
Two months before the alleged victim went to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department alleging that Bryant had sexually assaulted her, she suffered under such mental anguish that she overdosed on pills and was rushed to a hospital, her friends told The Orange County Register. Bryant’s attorneys could use the incident to undermine her credibility, the newspaper quotes legal experts as saying.
The media madness over the case has begun in earnest. The Denver Post says that nothing this big has happened in Eagle, Colo., since the trial of ex-Georgetown, Colo., Mayor Koleen Brooks, a former stripper. Brooks was convicted in Eagle County this year of fabricating an assault against herself. “This is way bigger,” said Ann Mabee, 33, a Minnesota native who has lived in Eagle for four years.