The attorney for the woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape in 2003 said his client will not be speaking publicly about Bryant.
“The events of this past Sunday are nothing but enormously tragic,” lawyer John Clune tweeted Friday morning. “And so, while we understand the interest, our client will not be speaking at this time. Thank you for also respecting her privacy.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California.
Bryant was 24 when he was charged with one count of felony assault after the then-19-year-old woman told the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department about the June 30, 2003, incident in Bryant’s hotel room at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, Colorado. Bryant was there to undergo knee surgery in nearby Vail.
Prosecutors in Eagle County dropped the criminal case on Sept. 1, 2004, after the accuser declined to testify. The woman filed a civil lawsuit in August 2004, and that case was settled out of court on March 2, 2005.
Bryant’s reputation took a massive hit after the accusation, but he rebuilt it over the next 16-plus years and was an advocate of women and women’s sports at the time of his death.
After the criminal case was dismissed, Bryant, a five-time NBA champion who will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, released a statement. It read:
“First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. 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, Colorado. I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case.
“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 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.”