Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Bryant expects to be completely exonerated

AP , DENVER, COLORAD0, PHOENIX, ARIZONA AND ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Prosecutors say they are treating Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant like any other person suspected of sexual assault.

But Eagle County sheriff's investigators didn't reveal his arrest until two days later, when he already was released on bail.

"There wasn't any urgency. We felt we were doing the right thing for everyone involved," Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy said. "We wanted to give people the time to themselves to adjust" because of the July 4 holiday.

An arrest warrant accuses the 24-year-old Bryant of attacking a woman at a resort in Eagle County on June 30. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said it could be days before he decides whether to file charges. Defense attorney Pamela Mackey said Bryant "expects to be completely exonerated." She said the five-time All-Star had been in Colorado for knee surgery at Vail's Steadman Hawkins Clinic.

Hoy said investigators learned of the allegations on July 1 and spent nearly 30 hours on the case before contacting Bryant.

It is unclear when the arrest warrant was issued. Sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Andree said investigators told Bryant about the arrest warrant on Thursday. Bryant flew back to Colorado on Friday, surrendered to authorities and was released on US$25,000 bail. Hoy waited until Sunday to announce the arrest. Bryant's police mug shot isn't being released and the court documents have been sealed.

"That treatment would not be accorded the average citizen," Robert Pugsley, a criminal law professor at Los Angeles' Southwestern School of Law, said Monday.

"Other people would be handcuffed immediately, thrown into a squad car and taken downtown," he said.

Stoudamire pinched

Damon Stoudamire of the Portland Trail Blazers was arrested on marijuana charges after allegedly trying to pass through an airport metal detector with almost 42gm of the drug wrapped in aluminum foil.

The Portland guard was stopped at the Tucson airport Thursday as he prepared to board a flight to New Orleans, police said Monday.

The team immediately suspended Stoudamire and fined him US$250,000.

He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors. Police said he was carrying almost 40gm of marijuana.

After Stoudamire set off the metal detector, he placed the drug and rolling papers into a plastic security bin, police said. Security officials then summoned police. He told officers that the drug was marijuana and that it was his.

Stoudamire was released on his own recognizance and is to appear in court July 25. He could face a sentence of up to US$2,500 in fines and probation on each charge.

Armstrong arrested

Darrell Armstrong of the Orlando Magic was arrested early Monday after being accused of fighting with a female police officer outside a nightclub.

Armstrong was booked into the Orange County jail on charges of battery on a law-enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

Armstrong tried to enter a full taxi outside a club and, upset over being denied a ride, he stood in traffic, Orlando police Sgt. Orlando Rolon said. When Officer Theresa Joyce tried to get Armstrong out of the street, he scuffled with her before being arrested, police said.

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