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Prosecutors Get More Money for Bryant Case

July 29, 2003

EAGLE, Colo. (AP) _ Prosecutors handling Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case won a request for additional money Tuesday, securing $105,000 from county commissioners and the possibility of more.

The aid could be increased again based on District Attorney Mark Hurlbert’s needs, Eagle County commissioners said. Other counties in the judicial district could be asked to contribute to Hurlbert’s $2 million budget, county finance director Mike Roeper said.

Roeper said it was the first time in his two-and-a-half years in office that a prosecutor has asked for additional funds.

Dozens of reporters are expected here next week for Bryant’s initial court appearance on a felony sexual assault charge. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar has said his 19-year-old accuser had sex with him willingly at a resort in nearby Edwards on June 30.

Also Tuesday, attorneys for several media organizations filed motions to open sealed court records, saying many details have already been publicized _ some of them by Bryant and Hurlbert.

``Ironically, at the same time, both the district attorney and Bryant are opposing the very thing that would permit the public to independently test the veracity of their public relations statements, i.e., unsealing the court file,″ the attorneys wrote.

Bryant’s attorneys, Hal Haddon and Pamela Mackey, did not return phone calls seeking comment. The defense did ask Judge Terry Ruckriegle not to allow expanded media coverage of the case, saying it could jeopardize Bryant’s right to a fair trial.

Along with the money, Hurlbert also got some additional expertise: Ingrid Bakke, head of Boulder’s sex assault and domestic violence unit, is on loan for up to a year to help with the case. Hurlbert’s office has deputy district attorneys, but so far he has been the lone prosecutor to address the case publicly.

The Colorado Judicial Branch this week is expected to launch a Web site page devoted to the case. The page will have information on hearing schedules, motions rulings and other details.

``I’ve had 150 calls a day. It’s overwhelming,″ said Krista Flannigan, spokeswoman for the prosecutor. ``It seemed like it was going to save a lot of us time. Especially as court orders come out, they just don’t have the staffing to make sure the media has everything.″

The door to Hurlbert’s office, which had been open to the public, is now locked and posted with a sign saying the office is closed. A phone number is posted for visitors to leave messages.

A judge issued a detailed order Tuesday for reporters covering the Aug. 6 hearing, outlining procedures right down to parking availability.

Reporters will be barred from using cell phones and tape recorders and interviews inside the courthouse, photographing witnesses, potential jurors and Bryant’s accuser and her family. Some of the parking will be reserved for people involved in the trial, Ruckriegle said.

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