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Basketball: Kobe's Accuser files civil suit

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posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 03:50 PM
The 20-year-old woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape filed a federal civil lawsuit against the NBA star Tuesday, seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering and "public scorn, hatred and ridicule."

The attorneys asked for a jury trial and compensatory damages of at least $75,000, with punitive damages to be determined later.

The filing backed up a threat the woman's attorneys made a week ago. A criminal case requires a higher standard of proof to convict -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- and punishment can involve prison time. A civil case has a lower standard of proof -- a preponderance of evidence -- and punishment is usually a monetary award.

Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said the civil lawsuit changes nothing for the criminal trial.

"We are still moving forward," she said. She declined to comment when asked whether the civil case could complicate the effort to win a conviction.

Bryant 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault. He has said he had consensual sex with the woman, then 19, at the Vail-area resort where she worked last summer. The Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine of up to $750,000 if convicted. Jury selection begins Aug. 27.

Bryant's defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, did not immediately return a message seeking comment and neither did the woman's attorneys, John Clune and L. Lin Wood. All attorneys in the case were reminded by the judge last week that a sweeping gag order is in place.

The lawsuit laid out generally the same case against Bryant as Eagle County prosecutors: That Bryant attacked the woman in his room at the Cordillera resort, causing her lingering emotional and physical problems.

"The conduct of defendant Bryant demonstrates willful, reckless and intentional criminal conduct and that entire want of care that raises a conscious indifference to consequences," the attorneys wrote.

They accused Bryant of flirting with the woman, a front desk employee, during a tour of the resort, and said they kissed after they ended up in his room. Investigators have said the encounter turned violent after flirting by both Bryant and his accuser, and that she told Bryant "no" at least twice.

The lawsuit alleged that Bryant blocked her exit, grabbed her and forced her over a chair to rape her.

Bryant's hands were around the woman's neck, the attorneys said, "a perceived threat of potential strangulation if she resisted his advances."

The attorneys also accused Bryant of "attempting to commit similar acts of violent sexual assault on females he has just met," but they did not elaborate.


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