Detective tells accuser's story in Bryant case: Say it ain’t so, Kobe

By Sinclere Lee

EAGLE, Colorado (BNW) –
If the reports about how Kobe did that girl in Colorado are true, it appears to be a case of mistaken identity rather that sexual assault because who in the world would believe a so-called clean-cut young man like Kobe would do such ugly things to a woman.

In the first public testimony in the sexual assault case against professional basketball player Kobe Bryant, a detective detailed in graphic form Thursday what he said the alleged victim told him about her encounter with Bryant.

The 25-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star is accused of sexually assaulting the 19-year-old hotel clerk on June 30 when he was a guest at a mountain lodge where she worked in Edwards, west of the Vail ski resort.

Bryant, who is married, has acknowledged having had sex with the woman, but insisted it was consensual and that he did not assault her.

In a preliminary hearing at the Eagle County Courthouse, Detective Doug Winters said the woman told him she had been excited when she heard Bryant was going to check in to the hotel, and she wanted to meet him.

She said that after giving a tour to the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Bryant and two other people who checked in with him, the athlete asked her to accompany him back to his room, Winters said.

The detective said she told him there was "mutual flirting" between the two.

Once there, Bryant asked her to lift up her skirt and show him a tattoo she had on her back, Winters said.

When she asked him for his autograph, Bryant told her to return later and he would give it to her, the detective said.

Before she left the room, the detective testified, "she said he began kissing her mouth and neck, which she agreed to."

He said she told him that Bryant then "began to grope her, touching her breasts and buttocks area."

At that point, the detective said, the woman was afraid and wanted to leave the room. The detective testified that she told him, "'Kobe Bryant grabbed me with both hands around my neck. I was afraid he was going to choke me.'"

The detective said she told him Bryant then turned her over a chair and raped her. The act lasted five minutes, Winters said she told him.

Bryant told the woman repeatedly not to tell anyone, Winters said she told him.

Still afraid, she agreed to his demand, but when she got downstairs, she told the resort hotel's bellhop, who followed her home to ensure she was OK, Winters testified.

The defense will have a chance to cross-examine the detective.

Bryant, who left the Lakers' training camp in Hawaii on Wednesday, arrived for the hearing before noon.

Wearing a dark suit and an orange shirt, Bryant strode into the courthouse, eyes straight ahead, without saying anything to the throng of reporters covering the case.

He faces one count of felony sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The preliminary hearing, at which prosecutors were to argue that there is probable cause to take the case to trial, began around 1 p.m. (3 p.m. ET) and could last four hours.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert's evidence includes photographs of the woman after the alleged incident, an audiotape of Bryant being interviewed by investigators the next day, and a video with the woman talking about the case, although it is not clear what the pictures or the tapes contain.

The case could go to trial as soon as next spring.

Last week, Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett decided that Bryant's accuser would not be required to attend.

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