Tue, Jul 08, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Kobe Bryant faced with charge of sexual assault


Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant turned himself in to police and posted a US$25,000 bond on a felony count of sexual assault, the Eagle County sheriff's office said Sunday.

The 24-year-old All-Star guard was released after turning himself in on Friday.

The sheriff's office said an arrest warrant was issued after deputies investigated a woman's claims Tuesday of sexual misconduct by Bryant. The incident happened the previous night in a hotel in the Edwards area of Eagle County, near Vail, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

After a series of interviews and a review of the physical evidence, investigators met with representatives for District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and concluded they had enough evidence for the felony sexual assault count, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Hurlbert said Sunday night he hadn't made a decision on whether to file charges and had not yet seen the arrest report. He said the sheriff's office asked a judge for an arrest warrant instead of requesting one through his office, the usual practice.

"During the investigation, Bryant was cooperative with investigators and remains cooperative with authorities," the sheriff's office said.

Judge Russell Granger ordered the case sealed. Attempts to reach Bryant for comment were not immediately successful.

"These allegations are completely out of character of the Kobe Bryant we know," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. "For the seven years he's been with us, he has been one of the finest young men we've known and a wonderful asset to both our team and our community.

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