With a terse news release and an even terser court filing, the sordid sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant that gripped the nation abruptly ended with an agreement that ensures the NBA star never goes to trial for what happened in a hotel room two years ago.
Few experts believed the civil lawsuit would ever be heard by a jury, saying it was unlikely that Bryant and the 20-year-old woman who accused him of raping her relished the prospect of having to divulge potentially embarrassing, intimate details in a courtroom.
“This is the least surprising legal development of the year. This civil case was bound to settle from the day last September when the criminal case ended and Bryant apologized to his accuser,” said CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. “Both sides had major incentives to make a deal before even more embarrassing information came out about their private lives.”
Avoiding those questions, Cohen said, probably was worth a lot both to Bryant and his alleged victim.
The case tarnished both Bryant, 27, arguably the NBA’s best player, and the woman, a former high school cheerleader who once tried out for “American Idol” and found herself the subject of Internet speculation.
Terms of the settlement were not released. Law experts said the agreement probably spelled out financial penalties for revealing any details.
A two-sentence statement faxed to The Associated Press by Bryant’s attorneys said only that the matter had been resolved “to the satisfaction of both parties.”
“The parties and their attorneys have agreed that no further comments about the matter can or will be made,” the statement said. A one-sentence motion for dismissal stipulating that the case can never be refiled was filed simultaneously in Denver federal court.
Read full article: CBS News