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Phife's Avatar
Posts: 3,490
Join Date: April 29, 2003
Location: Haymarket Va.
September 1, 2004, 04:04 PM

Prosecutors will ask for Kobe dismissal — with a catch

D.A. reportedly wants the right
to refile charges at a later date

NBA star Kobe Bryant arrives at Eagle County Justice Center on Monday.
NBCSports.com news services
Updated: 4:55 p.m. ET Sept. 1, 2004EAGLE, Colo. - Prosecutors have agreed to dismiss sexual assault charges against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant with one big catch — they want the right to retry the case at a later date, NBC News has learned.

The prosecutors will move to dismiss the case "without prejudice", according to the report, which means they can refile the case later. It is not known whether or not the judge is inclined to accept the motion.

Attorneys for Bryant asked the judge to dismiss the case earlier in the day, saying prosecutors have refused to turn over details that could suggest he is innocent.

Court rules require prosecutors and defense attorneys to exchange evidence and witness opinions before trial, a process called discovery.

In a motion made public Wednesday, defense attorneys said a forensics expert whom prosecutors had planned to call as a witness had information that “undermined the accuser’s allegations and the prosecution’s case, and corroborated Mr. Bryant’s defense on a central issue — the cause and significance of the accuser’s alleged injuries.”

The filing said those opinions were not disclosed to the defense until they contacted the expert Friday, despite repeated requests to prosecutors for the information. Prosecutors have said they have turned over all information they were required to.

The judge gave prosecutors until Tuesday — the day opening statements are scheduled to begin — to respond to the defense motion.

“A person’s life and liberty are at stake,” the defense attorneys wrote. “The game of hide-the-ball, find-it-if-you-can discovery is intolerable.”

Defense attorneys asked that the judge either dismiss the case or bar prosecutors from introducing any expert testimony relating to the accuser’s injuries.

The motion does not identify the expert, but prosecutors this spring had said they planned to call former New York City medical examiner Michael Baden to testify about the woman’s injuries.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said during a July 19 hearing that he had decided against using Baden. He did not elaborate. Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to comment, citing a gag order imposed by the judge.

The motion was first reported by ABC News, which cited unidentified sources who said Baden told prosecutors the woman’s injuries could have been caused by consensual sex. A message left for Baden was not immediately returned.

Motions to dismiss on the eve of trial are not uncommon and often are unsuccessful, said Scott Robinson, a defense attorney familiar with the case. He said the judge likely will schedule a hearing quickly because if such motions are granted after a jury is sworn in, charges cannot be refiled.

Bryant, 26, has said he had consensual sex with a then-19-year-old employee of a Vail-area resort where he stayed last summer. If convicted of felony sexual assault, he would face four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.

Meanwhile, the last round of questioning of individual jury candidates resumed Wednesday. In all, 160 prospective jurors have been questioned through Tuesday with 40 more to go.

Open-court jury selection is expected to begin Thursday, with opening statements scheduled for Tuesday. The jury will include 12 panelists and two alternates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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