Sunday, July 6
ESPN.com news services
EAGLE, Colo. -- 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 woman's claims Tuesday claiming sexual misconduct by Bryant. The incident happened the previous night in a hotel in the Edwards area of Eagle County, near Vail, the sheriff's office said in a statement.
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.
Hurlbert said Sunday night that he hadn't made a decision on whether to file charges and had not yet seen the arrest report. He said the sheriff's office asked a judge for an arrest warrant instead of requesting one through his office, the usual practice.
"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."
Similar support, and similar silence, also came from Nike.
"We're pleased to work with Kobe Bryant as he is a great player," Nike spokesman Nigel Powell told ESPN.com. "But since this is a legal matter, we cannot comment at this time."
Bryant recently signed a five-year endorsement deal with Nike believed to be worth more than $8 million per year.
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.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.