Eagle, Colo. will issue a guide to the flood of reporters expected in town next week for Kobe Bryant’s preliminary hearing. Dozens of journalists showed up for an earlier hearing; city leaders hope that the guide will match expense accounts with local cash registers, says the Rocky Mountain News.
Some call it unseemly to link a rape trial to the municipal bottom line. “It looks like it’s exploiting a tragedy that’s happened to one of our own,” says L.D. Alderson, who runs a gift basket business and whose daughter is close to the alleged victim. “It’s just short of selling T-shirts that say, ‘Eagle, Colorado, home of the Kobe Bryant victim.’ ” Bryant, 25, is accused of sexual assault stemming from a June 30 incident at a nearby lodge. The Los Angeles Lakers star says the encounter was consensual.
City leaders say they want to make the best of an uncomfortable situation. The media guide is “a good idea by the town,” says Eagle Valley Printing and Graphics co-owner Gojan Nikolich, whose store is a few steps from the courthouse. “There’s going to be people looking and asking anyway. It’s not like we’re buttonholing them.”
The town has asked all of its 175 business license holders if they want to appear in the guide. They pay no fee to participate in what Mayor Roxie Dean called the “Eagle Information Packet.” Town manager William Powell says that all of the town’s approximately dozen restaurants are participating. Each one gets the front and back of an 8- by 11-inch page. The town will make 300 packets at a cost of $45. The packet also will have a town fact sheet, including such items as population (3,500), median household income ($62,750) and median housing cost ($274,800).