Chris Schneider/Rocky Mountain News/AP
Kobe Bryant returns to court in Colorado on Monday for a pretrial hearing, but most attention is focused on whether his high-profile sexual assault criminal case will ever take place – given that prosecutors reportedly are seeking a painless way to dismiss the charge against him.
Last week, Bryant's 20-year-old accuser also sued him in civil court for at least $75,000 in damages, which could leave her open to accusations of being in the case for financial gain – thereby undermining her credibility on the stand at the criminal trial.
On Friday, District Judge Terry Ruckriegle denied a prosecution motion to delay the trial's Aug. 27 start date.
Ruckriegle also gave prosecutors an important victory by preventing evidence about the women's purported suicide attempts, medications or drug and alcohol use from being introduced at trial.
"Colorado courts are known for granting maximum protection to alleged victims of sexual assault," Denver attorney and former prosecutor Craig Silverman tells Reuters.
But Larry Pozner, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, speculates that prosecutors may attempt to dismiss the case with as little further embarrassment as possible. "We have just too many things happening in this case that we don't normally have," he tells the Associated Press. "The big picture? None of this bodes well for the prosecution."
The L.A. Lakers star, 25, has pleaded not guilty, insisting he and his accuser had consensual sex last summer in his hotel room at a Vail-area resort where she worked as a concierge.