Kobe Defense: 'Compelling Evidence'
Wednesday's session was to determine if Bryant, 25, will stand trial on accusations that he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman at a Colorado resort on June 30.
The L.A. Lakers star and his attorneys appeared for a morning session with Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett and prosecutors. The meeting reportedly concerned whether portions of the preliminary hearing should be closed.
Afterwards, according to news reports, Judge Gannett asked reporters covering the case to exercise "restraint" and not draw any conclusions from testimony given.
But at the same time, reports Reuters, Bryant's lawyers claimed to have "compelling evidence" of their client's innocence -- and Eagle County Sheriff's detective Doug Winters testified that semen and pubic hair belonging to someone other than Bryant was found in the underwear of the accuser.
Winters's testimony came during cross-examination by Bryant's attorney, Pamela Mackey, and followed a court filing by the defense that said that "substances" not belonging to the basketball star were found in the accuser's panties (which were reportedly worn by her to a hospital on the day after the alleged attack).
Winters also said the woman, a hotel concierge and college student, told police she had consensual sex two days before her encounter with Bryant.
Last week, Mackey, who referred to Bryant's accuser by name six times (considered against protocol in a rape case), asked one witness whether the alleged victim's injuries were "consistent with a person who had sex with three different men in three days."
It was at that point that Judge Gannett became so furious that he suspended the hearing. Since then, prosecutors labeled Mackey's tactic a "deliberate and calculated" attempt to smear the alleged victim and said the defense attorney had overstepped her bounds.
Bryant remains free on $25,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying that sex with the woman was consensual.
Meanwhile, New York's Daily News reports that Nike is ready to end its endorsement deal with Bryant. After months of negotiations, Nike signed the NBA star to a five-year, $45 million deal. The deal was reached before news broke of the Colorado incident.
According to the News, Bryant settled for a $1.5 million buyout after lengthy negotiations. Nike has declined to comment on the report.