Saturday, October 11, 2003

Bryant case strategy shifts

Prosecutors move to close part of preliminary hearing

The Associated Press

EAGLE, Colo. - In what analysts say is an abrupt shift in strategy, prosecutors in the case of Lakers star Kobe Bryant asked the judge to close at least a portion of the preliminary hearing when it resumes next week.

Prosecutors made the request after defense attorneys in Thursday's hearing questioned the sexual history of the woman who accused the NBA star of rape. Spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to provide more details.

Tom Kelley, a Denver attorney who represents several media organizations, said he was told prosecutors sought to close the balance of the hearing. Earlier, prosecutors had supported a public hearing.

"They got in all the stuff that is harmful to Kobe. When the witness started taking a beating on cross-examination, they move to close," Kelley said.

The preliminary hearing, which began Thursday, was expected to be an easy victory for prosecutors. But it ran more than six hours and ended with a suggestion from defense attorney Pamela Mackey that the woman's injuries might be "consistent with a person who has had sex with three different men in three days."

Eagle County sheriff's Detective Doug Winters related the woman's account with graphic details of Bryant grabbing her by the neck and attacking her after a flirtatious encounter got out of control.

Larry Pozner, former president of the colorado Criminal Defense Bar, said prosecutors made a tactical error by introducing photographs of the woman's injuries and allowing Winters to describe the nurse's conclusions. That gave the defense an opening to bring up the woman's sexual history.

Judge Frederick Gannett took the prosecution request to close the hearing under advisement and allowed the defense to question Winters behind closed doors about statements Bryant made to police before he was arrested.

Bryant, who faces up to life in prison if convicted of the single count of felony sexual assault, practiced with the Lakers Friday and must return to Eagle Wednesday when the hearing resumes.

CAVALIERS: A businessman sued the family of rookie LeBron James, contending he was not repaid a loan of more than $115,000.

Akron businessman Joe Marsh, in a breach-of-contract suit filed Thursday, said he lent the money to Eddie Jackson and Gloria James during LeBron James' last two years of high school. Marsh said Jackson and Gloria James asked for the money to help support LeBron James and his mother and to "pay for Jackson to travel the country to meet with shoe company executives on behalf of LeBron."

LeBron James' agent, Aaron Goodwin, says James offered to repay the money - which Goodwin says was $149,000 - but only if Marsh signed a confidentiality agreement. Marsh refused.

WIZARDS: Guard Jerry Stackhouse missed Washington's exhibition game Friday night because of a sore right knee and said he could be out for an extended period of time. Stackhouse, who led the Wizards in scoring last year at 21.5 points per game, first had pain in his knee at the end of last season but did not have surgery.

TIMBERWOLVES: Latrell Sprewell's sore left Achilles' tendon will keep him out of today's exhibition against New York, his old team.

Elder 28, St. Xavier 7
Princeton 14, Lakota East 7
Conner 29, Dixie Heights 16
Colerain 44, Hamilton 24
Wyoming 40, Deer Park 13
Turpin 54, Goshen 13
Reading 38, Indian Hill 32 (3OT)
Winton Woods 16, Loveland 15
Roundup of Friday's other Ohio games
Roundup of Friday's other Kentucky games
Scores, how poll teams fared
Bacon's Zeller trails by 7 at state
CovCath finishes third in state
Friday's results
Today's schedule

Allen completes interviews
NLCS: Cubs 5, Marlins 4 (11)
Pedro vs. The Rocket
Damon back in Red Sox lineup today
Boston businessman to purchase Dodgers

Bengals' Graham landed on his feet
Injured girl's family sues league

Guidugli, UC fighting for balance
Bucks braced for big battle
Clarett sues Ohio State, seeks $2.5M in damages
MU offense aims for 40-plus points vs. lowly Buffalo
Soldier trades war nightmares for college football dream
Panthers wary of 1-3 Irish
Michigan's rally stuns Gophers
Major games, major stakes

Verplank, Flesch tied for lead at 23-under par

Bryant case strategy shifts

Americans want a winning ending

Kenseth's recent struggles have field gaining ground

This weekend's sports on TV, radio