costs nearly $400,000
D.A.'s office still spending
on dismissed case
DENVER - Prosecutors in the Kobe Bryant case spent nearly $400,000 trying to get the NBA star convicted of raping a woman at a Vail-area resort last summer, documents show.
That includes nearly $75,000 for expert witnesses and travel, more than $78,000 to investigators and more than $35,000 for a broadcast news clipping service.
“When the government comes after you, the government comes with an open checkbook,” said Larry Pozner, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “There is no bill for the prosecutors’ time, there is no bill for the sheriff’s time.”
Expenses by the district attorney’s office that covers Eagle and three nearby counties were broken down in a balance sheet obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request. The office still is spending money on the case.
Prosecutors spent $397,508 from July 15, 2003, through Aug. 31 -- the day before they dismissed the felony sexual assault charge against Bryant at the woman’s request.
Spokeswoman Krista Flannigan, who earned $76,000 after she was hired to help District Attorney Mark Hurlbert handle media coverage, remains on the payroll. Lawyers in Hurlbert’s office still are working on a request by Bryant’s attorneys to seal all records and evidence.
“This actually is a little less than you’d expect for something of this high profile,” Flannigan said Tuesday. “It’s typical for a first-degree murder case, even in our district.”
The document indicates prosecutors paid almost $61,000 for an investigator and $35,700 for two legal assistants. Hurlbert paid other district attorneys a total of $64,000 for the services of an investigator and two prosecutors who specialize in sexual assault cases.
He also paid Multivision Inc. of Walnut Creek, Calif., $35,451 to monitor broadcast news stories about the case.
Hurlbert did not return a call.
Former Denver prosecutor Karen Steinhauser, a visiting professor at the University of Denver College of Law, said there is no yardstick by which to measure whether the expenses were appropriate.
“From the standpoint of a typical rape case, absolutely not $400,000, but given the small jurisdiction, given the fact you’ve got extra assistance and have to pay extra people and numerous experts, it’s going to be more than your typical rape case,” she said.
The amount Bryant spent on his defense is not publicly known, though Easter said during a hearing last month “the prosecution has not had $12 million to pay for experts.”
Defense attorney Pamela Mackey did not return a call. She and defense attorney Hal Haddon still represent Bryant in a civil lawsuit filed against him by the alleged victim.
Hurlbert’s office has an annual budget of $2.1 million. Each of the four counties in his district contribute to his budget, and each agreed to give additional money for the Bryant case.
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