Thursday, October 9, 2003

Notebook: Bryant is expected to waive today's hearing

The Associated Press

EAGLE, Colo. - Kobe Bryant's lawyers are expected to waive his preliminary hearing to keep potentially damaging evidence from being heard publicly.

If the hearing scheduled for today is not waived, prosecutors will present evidence they say proves the NBA star raped a hotel worker in his room at a mountain lodge June 30.

"If they have the hearing, the public is going to hear basically all the details of what happened that night and it's going to be told from the prosecution's perspective," said Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor and law professor at the University of Denver.

"There's a lot of unfavorable evidence going to be brought out in public."

Denver defense attorney Dan Recht also expects Bryant's legal team to waive the preliminary hearing and acknowledge there is enough evidence for a judge to order a trial.

"There's no way the defense will win a preliminary hearing. No way. None," Recht said.

Documents containing details of the investigation have been sealed since Bryant's arrest July 4, and everyone involved in the case has been silenced by a gag order.

Even if the hearing is waived, Bryant must appear today in front of Judge Frederick Gannett for a bail hearing. Bryant, free on $25,000 bail, also would have to appear in another court at some point to enter a plea to the sexual assault charge.

Bryant was in Hawaii this week, where the Los Angeles Lakers are training and playing their first exhibition games.

LeBRON JAMES: A businessman lent the father figure of LeBron James $100,000 during James' last two years of high school and a couple of the checks went directly to his mother, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Businessman Joe Marsh told The Plain Dealer that Eddie Jackson asked for the money two years ago to help support James and his mother and to pay for Jackson to travel the country to meet with shoe company executives on James' behalf before he became a Cleveland Cavaliers rookie.

Ohio High School Athletic Association spokesman Bob Goldring said the loan "would raise some red flags" but noted that under OHSAA bylaws, no action can be taken 42 days after a state championship.

St. Vincent-St. Mary won the last of its three state titles during James' tenure in March.

SUNS: Phoenix signed center Dejan Koturovic and waived two players Wednesday, reducing the training camp roster to 18. The 7-foot Koturovic played on the Yugoslavian national team.

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