It now appears the stage is set for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant to stand trial for rape this month, says the Rocky Mountain News. Colorado’s Supreme Court yesterday denied an appeal by prosecutor Mark Hurlbert of the trial judge’s decision that jurors may hear so-called rape shield evidence, concerning the alleged victim’s sexual activities in a 72-hour window around the time of the alleged assault. Asked if there remained any chance the trial won’t go forward as scheduled, Colorado Judicial Branch spokeswomen Karen Salaz said, “Not in our minds. That seemed to be speculation on the media’s side.” Court officials hope that a jury can be seated in a week, clearing the way for opening statements Sept. 7.
Family members and attorneys for the alleged victim, a 20-year old Eagle woman, have said she’s worried she can’t get a fair hearing in this court, due to several accidental releases of her name, plus the inadvertent distribution of a sensitive closed-hearing transcript by a court official. Cynthia Stone of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said, “I think we lost the forest for the trees in this case. We have not heard this young woman’s story in her words yet. We have not seen all the evidence that the prosecution holds in this case. All that we have heard has been out of context.” Former Denver District Attorney Norm Early said, “We’re writing this woman off before she has even testified. That’s patently unfair. The prosecution is not planning an exit strategy, and I think the case is probably better than most people say.”