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Kobe Bryant Regains Nike Endorsements

The L.A. Times reports that Kobe Bryant's "star is rising" again. He has regained his Nike endorsements.

So last week's ad represented something more than just a sleek pitch for sneakers. With its striking approach -- as if Bryant were facing his detractors, at least in basketball terms -- marketing experts say it was a canny means of testing the waters of public opinion, if not a first step in rebuilding the player's image.

"I think enough time has passed," said Doug Shabelman, senior vice president of Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing in Evanston, Ill. "And the way they used him in the ad - it's a muted advertisement. It's quiet, calm."

The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault objects. I think it's appropriate. Kobe was never convicted of a crime and the accuser's story had more holes than swiss cheese. He should not be penalized any more. The accuser got her money in the civil action, why shouldn't he get his? At least he works for it.

More on the Nike endorsement here.

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Kobe Bryant and Accuser Settle Lawsuit

MSNBC reports that Kobe Bryant and his accuser have settled their civil lawsuit...in time for Kobe to avoid being deposed on Friday. Smart move by both. Kobe can afford to settle and the accuser, now married and expecting, needs to get past whatever happened that night and move on with her life.

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Why Kobe Bryant's Criminal Case Was Dismissed

Everyone is very Kobe Byranted out, I'm sure, but this is really fascinating. The Los Angeles Times, in a long investigative piece based upon statements by prosecutors and the accuser's civil lawyers, as opposed to anonymous sources or legal analysts, reports that the accuser performed so badly during a cross-examination at a mock trial held just a few weeks before the scheduled start of the real trial, that both prosecutors and her civil lawyers knew she had to fold.

It tells the story behind the apology negotiations, conducted by her civil lawyers and local defense lawyers who were on the team but not members of Haddon and Mackey's firm; the bitter feuds between the prosecutors which left two of them not speaking up to the week the trial was set to begin and the details of the mock cross that was devasting for the accuser. Almost all of the quotes are from the prosecutors and civil lawyers involved.

The only lawyers not commenting are Pam Mackey and Hal Haddon, who have consistently refused to speak with the press, citing ethical reaons. This article sounds like a prelude to a book on the case, and for once, much of what the reporters say rings true.

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Kobe Bryant's Accuser Identifies Herself

After a year of everyone who cared to already knowing her identity, the accuser in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case has made her identity public--because the federal judge presiding over her civil lawsuit for damages against Kobe ruled she had to in order to bring her lawsuit.

A federal judge had ruled that the woman must be publicly identified in the case as a matter of fairness. A Denver newspaper gave a similar reason when it published the woman's name in Friday editions.

"Until now, the News has exercised its editorial judgment and has not named Bryant's accuser despite the fact that her name was widely known," Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple said in the story. "But today we are naming her, after she made the decision Thursday to refile her lawsuit in her own name seeking money damages against Bryant."

Other news organizations are continuing to withhold her name. TalkLeft believes the Rocky Mountain News made the correct decision in publishing her name and that other news organizations should follow suit. She has never been found to be a victim. It may be that Kobe is the victim. Let it all come out in the civil suit. Deference to the woman over Kobe is no longer appropriate given her decision to refuse to testify at his trial.

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Thoughts on Kobe Case Dismissal

Some thoughts on the dismissal of the Kobe Bryant case, and predictions:

  • It's best for Kobe and the accuser. Finally, their dirty laundry will be kept out of our living rooms.
  • The civil suit may be on the precipe of being settled. Condition precedent from the accuser: Kobe must make a suitable public apology before she agrees to bow out of the criminal case.
  • A week ago, the sides were too far apart on the wording of the apology. Jury selection moved forward. The apology got better and the latest mistake of the jury questionnaire gives the accuser cover to say that was the final straw.
  • The loser: The Eagle County District Attorney's Office. It bowed to public pressure to bring the charge after a local sheriff precipitously obtained an arrest warrant, without conducting an adequate investigation into the facts. They lost control of the case. The defense trounced them with good lawyering.
  • Judge Terry Ruckriegle is to be commended. He ruled fairly with well-reasoned opinions. He kept order in the courtroom. Mistakes by court personnel were just that, mistakes.
  • Colorado's rape shield statute worked in this case. Evidence of the accuser's prior sexual history would not have come into evidence. Only evidence of her contemporaneous sexual activity, within 72 hours of her rape exam, was ruled admissible.

I'll be doing a live chat on the case for the Washington Post at 11 am ET.

Update: Transcript of chat is here.

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Kobe Issues Apologetic Statement

Kobe Bryant has issued this statement. It's contrite. I think we can expect a settlement of the civil case shortly.

"I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colo.

Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.

I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado."

Here's more:

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Kobe Bryant Criminal Case Dismissed

Final Update: 6:30 pm: From Court TV: Case dismissed, with prejudice. Kobe was not present in court. His lawyers said he agreed with the decision, he thanks the judge, he says he does believe he could have gotten a fair trial. The prosecution said the case is being dropped for one reason only: the accuser said she will not cooperate with the prosecution. The DA's, prosecutors, civil lawyers and the accusers parents were present for the dismissal hearing. Kobe was not, nor was the accuser.

There is no civil settlement, according to her lawyers. The civil case will proceed. For now. There is nothing to prevent a civil settlement from happening later tonight, or tomorrow.

AP story here. I'll be talking about the dismissal on Fox News at 9:00 am ET, doing an online chat for the Washington Post on the case at 11:00 am, and a Court TV special at 2:00 p.m.

Now back to convention coverage.
Update: Still no news from the courthouse. But the Vail Daily reports:

Kobe Bryant's alleged victim has reportedly said if there was one more mistake by the courts she was "out." On Friday, that breach happened when the jury questionnaire was leaked to KCNC Channel 4 television, Denver's CBS affiliate. On Wednesday, in the early afternoon, the alleged victim, through her attorneys, notified prosecutors she was out of the case. The move comes on the heels of a defense motion to dismiss the case. Bryant's defense attorneys said in their motion that prosecutors withheld a medical report they say would exonerate their client. 6:23 pm MT

Update: Court officials say an open court session in the Kobe Bryant case will begin at 5:45 p.m.

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Kobe Prosecutors to Drop Case

Big, big Kobe case news. Reports are that the Prosecution will drop the sexual assault charge against Kobe Bryant tomorrow morning. Huge win for Kobe and his defense team. And the right decision.

Original post:

The defense is charging the prosecution is still hiding evidence favorable to Kobe Bryant and has asked the Judge to dismiss the case:

In a motion made public Wednesday, defense attorneys said a forensics expert whom prosecutors had planned to call as a witness had information that "undermined the accuser's allegations and the prosecution's case, and corroborated Mr. Bryant's defense on a central issue -- the cause and significance of the accuser's alleged injuries."

The filing said those opinions were not disclosed to the defense until they contacted the expert Friday, despite repeated requests to prosecutors for the information. Prosecutors have said they have turned over all information they were required to. The judge gave prosecutors until Tuesday -- the day opening statements are scheduled to begin -- to respond to the defense motion.

"A person's life and liberty are at stake," the defense attorneys wrote. "The game of hide-the-ball, find-it-if-you-can discovery is intolerable."

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Kobe Bryant Prosecution to Add Private Lawyer to Team

Another sign of disarray in the Kobe Bryant prosecution. Prosecutors told the Judge today, during jury selection, they are seeking to have private lawyer Joyce Seelen deputized as a deputy district attorney and added to the prosecution team for trial.

Seelen is a civil attorney whose specialty is representing alleged sexual assault victims who claim to be abused by persons in a position of trust--their parents, psychiatrists, priests.

Prosecutors say Seelen has been working behind the scenes on the case for a while. They just want to bring her officially on board now. At this late date?

Will they even be able to seat a jury? No one knows, as jury selection continues --but at least today the Judge said he will open questioning to the public, over prosecutor's objections.

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Judge: No Cameras During Testimony in Kobe Bryant Trial

A good ruling by Judge Ruckriegle in the Kobe Bryant case. There will be no video cameras allowed during trial testimony. Still photos will be allowed during opening and closing arguments and audio and videotaping will be allowed only during closing arguments.

For once, the prosecution, accuser and defense were on the same side. All opposed cameras in the courtroom. Jury selection begins Friday and trial testimony is set to begin September 7.

The Aspen Daily News is sticking by its policy of refusing to cover the case --it will only report the outcome when it's over. That's dumb. There are legitimate journalistic issues in the trial--such as the legalities and politics involved in raising a consent defense to a sexual assault charge--and in how courts handle high-profile cases.

Here's notice to TalkLeft readers that TalkLeft has been granted press credentials to cover the trial, and will report on major developments and perhaps provide a short daily trial summary with links to what I consider the better news articles. TalkLeft will not be all Kobe all the time or slack off on its regular coverage.

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TalkLeft Gets Press Credentials for Kobe Bryant Trial

Having covered the Democratic Convention as a credentialed blogger, it occurred to me, why stop there? So, TalkLeft applied for a press pass to cover the Kobe Bryant trial in Eagle. I received this e-mail today:

Good Afternoon Jeralyn, Your application has been approved and is good to go. Credentials are available for pick up on the Justice Center grounds beginning at 7:15 a.m. each morning on days when proceedings are scheduled. You must present a photo identification to receive your credential. Credentials are valid for the duration of the proceedings in this case.

Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. TalkLeft has followed every development in the Kobe Bryant case since the date his arrest was announced. I'm a frequent commentator on the case on TV, and often quoted on it in national newspapers. But still, this is not a credential that's attached to any of the networks or newspapers -- it's in my name for TalkLeft. I think it's very cool.

It may not make bloggers journalists, but it does confirm we're media.

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Kobe Bryant's Judge: Effect of Criticism

The New York Times reports on the toll the Kobe Bryant case is taking on Judge Terry Ruckriegle.

...its burdens have taken a toll on the judge, say acquaintances and lawyers who have worked in his courtroom over the years. Usually by this point in the summer, they say, the 56-year-old judge - an avid biker, hiker, camper and hunter in the mountains around his home in Breckenridge - would be at his lean and tan fittest. This summer, they say, he has been a shadow, often seen working at his office late at night and on weekends, or commuting to the courthouse in Eagle, 90 minutes away, where the Bryant case has unfolded.

"I haven't seen him on his bicycle once all summer, and he is as pale as I've ever seen him," said Dave Drawbert, a friend and local lawyer in Breckenridge. "I told him this case wouldn't be good for his health or his family, but his sense of duty prevailed."

But what a difference a day makes.

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