ends Bryant saga
World may never know what happened in hotel room in June 2003
DENVER - With a terse news release and an even terser court filing, the sordid sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant that gripped the nation abruptly ended with an agreement that ensures the NBA star never goes to trial for what happened in a hotel room two years ago.
Few experts believed the civil lawsuit would ever be heard by a jury, saying it was unlikely that Bryant and the 20-year-old woman who accused him of raping her relished the prospect of having to divulge potentially embarrassing, intimate details in a courtroom.
Although no mention of a monetary settlement was made, Bryant agreed to negotiate a monetary settlement, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
According to the Times, civil juries in Colorado can award damages of no more than $366,000 for pain and suffering, and the total amount a plaintiff can win is about $2.5 million.
Experts told the Times the settlement probably exceeded that amount because it included a confidentiality agreement, but that the damage to Bryant's reputation from the criminal charge might have weakened the accuser's leverage.
The case tarnished both Bryant, 27, arguably the NBA’s best player, and the woman, a former high school cheerleader who once tried out for “American Idol” and found herself the subject of Internet speculation.
Terms of the settlement were not released. Law experts said the agreement probably spelled out financial penalties for revealing any details.
A two-sentence statement faxed to The Associated Press by Bryant’s attorneys said only that the matter had been resolved “to the satisfaction of both parties.”
“The parties and their attorneys have agreed that no further comments about the matter can or will be made,” the statement said. A one-sentence motion for dismissal stipulating that the case can never be refiled was filed simultaneously in Denver federal court.
After a few more days of intense speculation about Wednesday’s settlement — how much money, whether any details can ever be released — the case will quickly fade from view, said Denver attorney Scott Robinson.
“Ultimately a new scandal, a new public shame will come along and both the plaintiff and the defendant can pretty much go about their lives,” he said.
A Los Angeles Lakers spokesman said Bryant had declined comment on the settlement. Bryant scored 26 points Wednesday night in Boston, but the Celtics still beat the Lakers 104-101.
“It’s in both parties’ interests to have this remain confidential,” said Los Angeles attorney Steve Cron, who is familiar with celebrity cases. “That’s one of the incentives for them to settle: He didn’t have to do a deposition, the lurid details wouldn’t be posted on some Web site, she didn’t have to face the rigors of having a deposition by his lawyers and she’ll gain some privacy as well.”
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