July 18, 2003

Kobe gets charged.: To be honest, this surprises me. I didn't expect there to be any real evidence, especially in something that would seem to be so he-said-she-said. I, for one, would love to know some details about what allegedly happened, and what evidence there is. I'm a Laker-hater and NBA-hater who tends to think that 99% of the basketball population are thugs or idiots, but Kobe actually seemed to be in that 1% minority. In any event, does the simple fact that he was charged affect the trial results in any way? I'm sure that public opinion probably has him guilty after this, and finding a jury who hasn't heard about this might be a bit tough...

posted by Bernreuther to basketball at 04:20 PM - 41 comments

ah, in his statement he admits adultery. So he is a scumbag. Ah well.

posted by Bernreuther at 04:56 PM on July 18, 2003

Don't be surprised if this never makes it to trial - Kobe has basically set the table for a settlement.

posted by kloeprich at 06:20 PM on July 18, 2003

Man, I HOPE this goes to trial. I'm guessing they turn up like 20 women who Kobe has taken to the rack, so to speak. It still sucks, though ... I liked Kobe for the most part. Now he turns out to be a dick.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:28 PM on July 18, 2003

In any event, does the simple fact that he was charged affect the trial results in any way I don't really follow your question. There cannot even be a trial if he's not charged with a crime, so I guess yeah, the fact that a suspect is charged always affects the trial. IANAL, but I'd think every defense lawyer would realize that he's starting out at a disadvantage, since the jury assumes from day 1 that the case would not have been brought if there was not a reasonable amount of incriminating evidence.

posted by pitchblende at 06:36 PM on July 18, 2003

that's what I meant. Such a public delay while deciding if there's evidence to charge him... that's bound to make a lot of people assume right off the bat that he's guilty. Without seeing the evidence I can't comment but my initial reaction is that unless it's some pretty damning evidence (like bruises in the shape of a very large hand, etc) the prosecution isn't going to get him. I also think he'll settle...

posted by Bernreuther at 06:41 PM on July 18, 2003

Everyone I've seen talk has said that a settlement is out of the question, because it would have already happened before he was actually charged. This one's going to trial.

posted by corpse at 08:06 PM on July 18, 2003

Big sensational career/reputation scarring trial, coming right up. sorry, i love love love that picture. such a lemon face. that may be my new AIM icon.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:27 PM on July 18, 2003

I tend to agree with corpse on this. If Kobe was going to settle this, wouldn't he have done so before the public humiliation? From Kobe's side, wouldn't a settlement imply guilt? And why would the woman settle, as to do so now would paint her as someone "in it for the money"? This one's going to be ugly -- 'cause not only will there be the whole "he said, she said" issue to contend with, but I think the girl's white (every "friend" they've interviewed here for the LA newscasts has been white so far. Looks to be a white neighborhood), so a whole racial-can-of-worms is about to be opened. Didn't A Man In Full start with a similar premise?

posted by herc at 02:04 AM on July 19, 2003

Man, I HOPE this goes to trial. I'm guessing they turn up like 20 women who Kobe has taken to the rack, so to speak. That's a really lousy attitude, wfrazerjr. You know absolutely nothing about a guy who, up to this point, has been a stand up citizen, and you haven't even heard anything about the details of this case, yet you've got him pegged as a repeat adulterer. It's that type of "once an x, always an x" attitude that will tarnish his career and his reputation and it's sick to think that there are people out there who do that. Adultery is incredibly wrong, but if that is all that happened then that's between his wife and him, not the rest of the world. If Anything is dug up about his sex life outside of this trial, it's just for people who seem to get some sort of sick personal pleasure from watching other people taken down from their pedestals, which it sounds to me is who you are, wfrazerjr. The trial is not to find out whether or not Kobe is a bad person; it's to find out if Kobe committed a crime. Perhaps you should remember that.

posted by therev at 08:53 AM on July 19, 2003

How many years have men been cheating on their significant other and how many times have we been caught? Don't we ever learn?

posted by jasonspaceman at 10:10 AM on July 19, 2003

Therev, here's what I know about Kobe: 1) Much of his endorsement money has been landed because of his squeaky image. 2) He slept with someone other than his wife. 3) He's now a dick. If you set yourself up as a "stand-up citizen," and then you're out sleeping with hotel clerks while your wife and child are at home, I'm now rooting against you. I'm basing the "20 women" thing on the cultural path of the NBA. Did I say I WANTED them to find the women? Nope. I just always hope for a trial, because otherwise, either Kobe did it and a settlement hushes it up, or he didn't and he gets labeled for the rest of his life as a sexual predator.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:12 AM on July 19, 2003

I could be wrong here, because I'm no legal expert, but a settlement has no bearing on a criminal trial. It's not up to the victim to decide whether or not charges get pressed, it's up to the D.A. There will likely be no civil trial because Kobe will settle that, but he's going to have to face the criminal charges regardless. There could be a plea bargain with Kobe pleading guilty to a lesser charge though. There's only two people that know for sure, and all the rest of us are speculating. So my speculation is that they had consensual sex and she wound up regretting it. I just don't believe he had to use any force, or would use any force to get sex from her. Please note the words "I don't believe" as the wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed words they are...it's just a gut feeling based on seeing Kobe's behavior for the last several years, and believing that he is a good character, adultery charges notwithstanding.

posted by vito90 at 12:53 PM on July 19, 2003

Don't we get tired of these things? Everyone knows that rich, handsome celebrities have hundreds of easy sexual opportunities (Elvis Presley before/after marriage, wow). Unless there is a man bites dog aspect to it, I can't see the interest.

posted by cg1001a at 02:29 PM on July 19, 2003

posts that I have seen elsewhere seem to indicate that this girl was an NBA groupie and went way out of her way to go flirt with him in his room (ie, he called and asked the desk for some information, she went above and beyond to come visit). I've seen this in action before, the amount of effort that some girls will go to to bang a pro athlete, and in fact a friend of mine nailed another friend who is in the NHL, and for a while she bragged about it and was happy, but if you were to ask her about it now she'd clam up and make it sound like a rape too. My guess is that she was just a starfucking gold digger who regretted it the next day. No absolute fact to base that on, but that's my thinking...

posted by Bernreuther at 04:01 PM on July 19, 2003

I will wait to see the trial and/or evidence before making any pre-disposition on anyone involved. Innocent until proven guilty, remember? Don't we get tired of these things? I'm comatose.

posted by therev at 04:50 PM on July 19, 2003

ok, therev, I'll buy that, but my two original statements stand - I want this to go to trial to find out the truth, and I fully expect them to find a ton of girls coming out of the woodwork to say this isn't an isolated incident. I also never said I thought Kobe was guilty of assault. I doubt that. For me, and I think a lot of other fans, though, the damage is already done - I'm just not going to like the guy anymore. Maybe I'm weird for not looking up to a guy who cheats on his wife, but I'll live with that.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:11 PM on July 19, 2003

Change "looking up to" to "liking" ... I don't want to infer that any of us look up to a guy because he happens to be tall and can shoot.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:12 PM on July 19, 2003

Well, I have no choice but to "look up" to Kobe. He towers over me.

posted by grum@work at 06:38 PM on July 19, 2003

I find it hard to believe that someone who had consentual sex, then regretted doing so, would trump up sexual assault charges. What am I missing here? Seems to me that if someone regretted having sex, they would prefer to keep it quiet rather than call attention to it. By going to the authorities she'll only have to revisit the experience again and again and again. When was the last time you did something you regretted and chose to relive it repeatedly? I'm with wfrazerjr here, in that I hope this thing goes to trial so we can eliminate the speculation; but I do find it disturbing that there seems to be a predisposition to blame the woman in the situation. Professional athletes have literally gotten away with murder in the past; why then is a charge of sexual assault so hard to believe?

posted by herc at 12:59 AM on July 20, 2003

I haven't seen anything factual to suggest the woman was an NBA groupie, aside from slimy unnamed "sources from the league" mentioned in Newsweek and elsewhere. To me, you can make an argument for and against Bryant based on what little we know. Just as there are women willing to make up charges for attention, lawsuits, or revenge, there are male athletes who have forced themselves onto women in spite of the ready availability of partners, such as Mike Tyson, Kirby Puckett, and Mark Chmura. This woman's identity has been publicly known to the media and her community since a day or two after the news broke about the incident. If she was making all of it up, she could have ended the extremely uncomfortable scrutiny by changing her mind about pressing charges or backed away from the allegation in some way. She didn't, which makes me wonder if there's some truth to the allegation. Also, if she was doing this for the attention, she could walk outside her door and talk to any of the TV people camped there. I found her name through a Google search, but there has yet to be a single mention of it in Google News, which shows to me that she's completely avoided the press. I'd like to think Bryant's an adulterous horndog rather than a rapist. But I have yet to see anything factual that would predispose me to believing it.

posted by rcade at 07:10 AM on July 20, 2003

P.s. It's weird to see so many people here making such a big deal of adultery. While it's a bad thing, all of us have cheated on spouses or significant others, know someone who has, or voted for a president who has. Shit happens.

posted by rcade at 07:13 AM on July 20, 2003

I guess I'm from the 19th century or something, but it IS a big deal to me on a personal level. I haven't done it and I haven't kept friends that I found out did. How could you trust anyone who would break that promise? In terms of Kobe, it doesn't make any difference in his ballplaying ... but I sure ain't gonna believe I need to obey my thirst anymore.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:38 AM on July 20, 2003

What's her motive if not publicity? Perhaps a fat cash settlement of a civil suit. I do mean perhaps, because that certainly has been the motive of other women in similar circumstances in the recent past. You might ask, if that's the case why didn't she get to Kobe with a demand before going to the police but perhaps (again) she was smart enough to realize that straight up blackmail is a lot harder to pull off these days and going the legit route makes her legal standing a lot more solid. All of this is not to say that Bryant didn't rape her, or that she's lying, or that she's actually going to file a civil suit. Just another possibility.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:59 AM on July 20, 2003

Kirby and Chmura were both acquitted, correct? I don't remember the Chmura case, but I do remember that the Kirby case was quite convincing. So let's not lump him in with Mike Tyson. there are reports that tales of this girl's past behavior (overdose in a possible attempted suicide) are coming out, leading to a defense that would say that she overreacts and is irrational... that definitely works in Kobe's favor. As for her not dropping it at any point, basically once she filed the charge, I think she was all in. To back out would be basically admitting to being a big slut. And of course there's the possibility of a big payday. I think that we'll never know what really happened, but even if he is guilty, I rather doubt that he will be convicted.

posted by Bernreuther at 02:19 PM on July 20, 2003

Thanks for the information on Puckett and Chmura. This story and others show both were acquitted.

posted by rcade at 04:08 PM on July 20, 2003

To the question of how a settlement affects a criminal case: pretty simple actually, once the money is paid the plaintiff refuses to testify. The case goes poof. Which is exactly how things went down in the Michael Jackson case several years ago. The fact that there hasn't been a quick settlement isn't necessarily indicative of Kobe's guilt/innocence or the girl's motivation. Much goes on before these things are finalized. And if Kobe's not guilty a trial may be the best way to completely clear his name.

posted by kloeprich at 11:31 PM on July 20, 2003

What's her motive if not publicity? Justice? Look, I understand what people are saying about the groupie aspect and I understand where that theory could cloud things. However, everyone knows that celebrity public personas aren't always what they are cracked up to be. Atheletes have been known to be a bit cocksure. I'll wait and see what the trial yields. It wasn't too long ago that I was a 19 year old girl, from that perspective alone I think I'll refrain from speculating about this girl's moral fiber.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:56 AM on July 21, 2003

Jerseygirl, spoken with truth and sincerity. Sadly, her moral fiber is already being attacked with the release of the 'recent overdose' news. Quite a low blow for the Kobe defense team, which could back-fire, but will probably be the best move of the entire fiasco. Someone on talk radio summed this up the best. Kobe isn't pissed he slept with a 19-yr old, he's pissed he got caught....that press conference emoting lesson was a bit, well, over done.

posted by garfield at 10:27 AM on July 21, 2003

garfield: You seem to imply that Kobe's defense team released the news about the girl's overdose, but I find no evidence of that. If anything the police in Colorado seem to have purposely closeted this information. (With justification, perhaps.) It's the media, not Kobe's lawyers, responsible for the 'low blow' and good or bad that's their job.

posted by kloeprich at 11:21 AM on July 21, 2003

JG, sorry, did not mean to imply that the girl is the liar here, only giving an alternative explanation for why she might pursue the press-charges avenue if Kobe is not lying. Big if, at this point.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:30 AM on July 21, 2003

Absolutely bill, your point was valid, she could have manipulative motives. I just have a feeling, given past cultural examples; she may be a bit smarter than that. Here’s a bit of my reasoning… Monica Lewinsky -- She loved the spotlight, still does. Now and forever, she will always be known as the girl who serviced the president and became a punch line to jokes worldwide. Her family's name is forever a slang term for sexual activity and she'll never be taken seriously. Plus, who would ever want to seriously date Monica Lewinsky and bring her home to their parents? Whether we are seeing it now or not, there's must be complete and total destruction to her family. We must presume for the moment, since we do not have evidence to the contrary (and the district attorney feels this is a very strong case,) that this girl was assaulted, violated and has been harmed in some way. She’s hurt, she’s probably embarrassed and most likely, ridiculously frightened. Her name is already out there I can’t find it on google like rcade did though and sooner than later, she’ll be full thrust into the spotlight and have to answer a lot of questions. She’ll lose her anonymity; she won’t be able to live a regular life for a long time. The details of her short life will be raked over and scrutinized. People will be judging her based on her looks, her upbringing and her brief past. If these charges are correct, she’s going to have to deal with all of this, plus heal emotionally and physically from the assault. As in so many sexual assault cases, the victim seems to have become the perpetrator. Neither party is going to leave this case unscathed, no matter how it is settled or what the jury decides. I liked Kobe. As a role model for children, as a public example of gentility and class, I have a bit of trouble with him being an admitted adulterer. Like I said, celebrity public personas are a smoke screen. OJ used to be a great guy in the public eye too. He did those hilarious Naked Gun movies, enthusiastically leaped over luggage in Hertz commercials and was a spirited game announcer. Who knew he was beating his wife to a pulp at home?

posted by jerseygirl at 12:13 PM on July 21, 2003

It's the media, not Kobe's lawyers, responsible for the 'low blow' and good or bad that's their job. I stand corrected, kloeprich. According to the link you provide its her friends disclosing the dirt to the local newspaper. Nice friends, huh? And though the complete facts are still being compiled, if I were the defense attorney, which have doubtlessly interviewed the 'friend', somehow leaking this sort of information has greatly improved my client's chance of acquittal. Sorry for the speculation but this is how these things work sometimes; its the court of the public, and I'd be willing to guess(obviously) the type of money Kobe can spend on a lawyer, said lawyer is going to use every means available. I am curious about your earlier comment about how the table was set for a settlement. What manueverings denote such a strategy?

posted by garfield at 12:20 PM on July 21, 2003

Purely speculation on my part. Kobe was awful quick to come public with the fact that he'd had sex with the girl at all, it appeared to me a preemptive strike aimed at maybe making the whole thing go away. The more I read the less sure I am of that. And I completely agree with you about how Kobe's legal team could and probably will handle things. Any discussion has to allow for the fact that this girl may be emotionally or psychologically off-kilter. A lot of people have latched on to the fact that because the DA seems so secure in the case there must be something there. But actual physical evidence can be very hard to come by in cases like this (Kobe's admitting that he did indeed have sex with her makes things even more difficult) and DA's often make their decisions to prosecute based on the potential strength of the victim's testimony. Someone who's emotionally strung out (for reasons other than alleged incident) might present as a very strong witness when there are actually other factors influencing her testimony. It's the defense's job to be sure the jury is fully aware of these things.

posted by kloeprich at 01:23 PM on July 21, 2003

The Kobe admitting that he slept with the woman, is nothing but step one in his defence, I think, becuase it is simple to prove that sexual contact was made, he can freely admit to boning her, which looks very honest in the public eye, and start painting the picture of a mistake that's being taken advantage of by a woman who sees a financial opportunity. I'm sure any lawyer would tell you that you don't settle a case until you are sure your going to be charged with something - in the court of public opinion a settlement is an admittion of guilt. And that's what this is all about, no doubt - money and perception. Must say that I'm a little skeptical of the charges. He's 24 with several millions, good-looking and famous. Guy has to duck from all the pussy being thrown at him. Why would he have to take it? I don't feel sorry for him, but I damn sure can't imagine that I could resist any more than he evidently couldn't. Men, rich or not, we can be easily led by the dick. Kobe's been so clean for so long that its either because, he's managed to keep his daliances quiet, or he got sloppy - but it's not because he's a choir boy. Gimme a break.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:52 PM on July 21, 2003

plus, who would want to seriously date Monica Lewinsky? Guilty.

posted by vito90 at 03:07 PM on July 21, 2003

dude, other people can read that.

posted by garfield at 03:27 PM on July 21, 2003

Vito and I have the same taste, I think. Well, it doesn't appear this girl has any thought of backing down. This has just been amazing to watch, and I still think it's going to take nothing less than a trial to clear Kobe's name. I don't think many of us have been thinking about this, though. What will the Lakers do if Kobe is gone for the season?

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:17 PM on July 21, 2003

Also, this column is the best summation I've read of what really makes me sick about all of this.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:24 PM on July 21, 2003

Here's an interesting coddle perspective.

posted by garfield at 05:16 PM on July 21, 2003

Thanks Garfield, I think Taylor hit it on the head. Kobe wasn't out lurking behind a dark corner trying to rape some women. Basically, he thought (From his coodled perspective) she wanted it and proceeded in that fashion. At some point she flipped out, maybe before the sex, maybe during the sex, maybe after. Taylor is right, pro athletes aren't necessarily the smoothest with women. I've seen MJ in action and he has no rap (Zero) and spends most of his time ass grabbing and licking women's cheeks when he goes to kiss them on the cheek. I have a question, does Kobe seriously think he is going to be able to play this season? It will be the media circus of all media circuses wherever the Lakers travel, forty-one times during the season (not counting the playoffs), it ain't going to happen.

posted by rl55z at 04:07 PM on July 23, 2003

There's a link above to a USA Today article about what the Lakers might do without him this year.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:20 PM on July 23, 2003

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