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Cameras permitted for Bryant’s hearing today

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Cameras permitted for Bryant’s hearing today

  • Judge has not modified decorum order; other media-related motions are pending.

Aug. 6, 2003 — News organizations may bring cameras to Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault hearing, the trial judge affirmed Monday.

Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett rejected Bryant’s attorney’s argument that cameras would jeopardize his fair-trial rights, noting that Bryant did not allege any specific harm that would result from media coverage.

No evidence or arguments will be presented at today’s hearing. It is solely for the purpose of having the judge formally advise Bryant of the charges against him and of the possible penalties.

Media organizations also have asked the judge to modify or clarify the “decorum order” issued previously. That order barred the press from reporting the name of Bryant’s accuser and imposed restrictions on media conduct at the courthouse. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion.

However, the judge already has agreed to modify one portion of the order. On Monday, media groups filed a motion to permit a camera pool in the hallway. A pool camera had been forbidden in the original order. The judge granted the motion to permit a camera pool on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, defense lawyers filed a motion alleging a violation of the court’s order on pretrial publicity. Bryant’s lawyers complained about news stories reporting details of the alleged victim’s injuries. The information was attributed to unnamed sources within the sheriff’s office. According to Christopher Beall, an attorney representing most of the news organizations, defense lawyers are requesting a hearing where every member of sheriff’s department would be placed under oath and asked whether they leaked any information to the press. The lawyers also are asking for sanctions against the sheriff’s office, although the specific sanctions are not described. Beall is concerned that the defense lawyers eventually might request that journalists be placed under subpoena and asked to testify.

Media organizations also have filed a motion asking that sealed documents be unsealed. Although most pleadings in the case are available, the warrants have remained sealed. The judge has not yet ruled on the motion to unseal, but the state has created a public Web site with access to the motions and orders filed in Bryant’s case.

(Colorado v. Bryant; Media counsel: Christopher Beall, Faegre & Benson, Denver, for The Denver Post, The Los Angeles Times, Freedom Communications, KNBC, NBC Inc, CNN, Fox News and The Associated Press; Rohn Robbins, Vail, Colo., for the Vail Daily) AG

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© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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