07-06-2003, 08:55 PM
Lakers' star charged with felony by Colorado police
DENVER (AP) -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant turned himself in to police and posted a $25,000 bond on a felony count of sexual assault, the Eagle County sheriff's office said Sunday.
The 24-year-old All-Star guard was released after turning himself in on Friday.
The sheriff's office said an arrest warrant was issued after deputies investigated a report made Wednesday claiming sexual misconduct by Bryant.
The report said the incident happened on the night of June 30 in a hotel in the Edwards area of Eagle County, near Vail.
After a series of interviews and a review of the physical evidence, investigators met with representatives for District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and concluded they had enough evidence for the felony sexual assault count, the sheriff's office said in a statement.
"During the investigation, Bryant was cooperative with investigators and remains cooperative with authorities," the sheriff's office said.
Judge Russell Granger ordered the case sealed.
Attempts to reach Bryant for comment were not immediately successful.
"These allegations are completely out of character of the Kobe Bryant we know," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. "For the seven years he's been with us, he has been one of the finest young men we've known and a wonderful asset to both our team and our community.
"However, since this is a legal matter being handled by the authorities in Colorado, we must refrain from further comment at this time."
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league had no immediate comment.
Bryant was the NBA's second-leading scorer last season, averaging a career-best 30 points a game. He scored 40 or more points in nine straight games in February and also had career-high averages of 6.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists while playing in each of the Lakers' 82 games.
The Lakers were eliminated from the Western Conference semifinals by the San Antonio Spurs, ending Los Angeles' run of three straight NBA championships.
Bryant underwent shoulder surgery on June 12 in New York. The Lakers expect he'll be ready by the start of training camp in October.
Bryant married Vanessa Laine in April 2001. Bryant and his parents recently mended a rift that developed when he became engaged to Laine when she was an 18-year-old high school student.
Vanessa gave birth to their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant, in January