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Media Request Considered

News organizations want the court files in the Bryant sexual assault case to be made public. An Eagle County judge will hear arguments today.

July 31, 2003|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

EAGLE, Colo. — An Eagle County judge will hear arguments today on whether court files in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case should be made public.

The files include details about the accusation, including statements by the accuser, and other information used to obtain arrest and search warrants.

Bryant, 24, is charged with felony sexual assault for an encounter with a 19-year-old woman June 30 at an Edwards, Colo., hotel. The Laker guard says he had consensual sex with the woman.

The Los Angeles Times and other media organizations have asked that the files be unsealed. Eagle County Dist. Atty. Mark Hurlbert attempted Wednesday to postpone the hearing, but Judge Frederick Gannett denied the motion.

In seeking the postponement, Hurlbert said "The media applicants are ambushing the people in this case in the lateness and size of their response."

Hurlbert said his fax machine had broken because of the volume of the response.

He also said his office did not have adequate time to review the media response.

In denying the motion, Gannett said the media response was not unusually large and pointed out that last week Hurlbert twice requested extra time to submit his brief outlining why the files should remain sealed.

The judge also denied a motion by Bryant's attorneys that television and still cameras be banned from the courtroom today. One television and one still camera will be allowed.

However, because Gannett has yet to rule on Hurlbert's request that the prosecution's brief be sealed, it is possible that the courtroom could be cleared for the entire proceeding.

Hurlbert said he wants his brief sealed because it may contain information that would harm the ongoing investigation and the privacy of the victim.

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