The 19-year-old woman who accused Kobe Bryant of sexual assault made a disputed return to the courtroom as a spectator in a closed-door hearing yesterday, the Denver Post reports. “She just felt it was important that the judge see the real person affected by his decisions,” said Krista Flannigan, the prosecutor’s spokeswoman. “As a victim, she has the right to be informed, present and heard at every critical stage of the criminal justice process.”
Lisa Wayne, a Denver defense attorney, said, “She is a witness in this case, and her testimony clearly can be tainted by hearing others testify. Her future testimony can be fashioned by what she’s hearing now.” Defense attorneys Pamela Mackey and Hal Haddon have disputed using the term “victim” for the woman and granting her privileges under the state Victim’s Rights Act – such as attending closed hearings. They say her June 30 encounter with the Los Angeles Lakers guard was consensual and no crime has been committed.
Flannigan said alleged victims often find it therapeutic to attend court proceedings.