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investigators make mistake in Kobe trial....
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Old 03 Feb 2004, 03:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default investigators make mistake in Kobe trial....

Associated Press
EAGLE, Colo. -- The lead investigator in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case acknowledged Tuesday under defense questioning that the NBA star was subjected to a pre-dawn hospital examination in violation of state law.

At a pretrial hearing, defense attorney Hal Haddon questioned Eagle County sheriff's Detective Doug Winters about police procedure, pointing out state law calls for hair, fibers and other "non-testimonial evidence" to be obtained during daylight hours. The hospital trip was in the middle of the night.

Winters said he didn't know about that rule. He also admitted that when he obtained a court order, a judge had to remind him he needed a second separate search warrant in order to gather Bryant's clothing.

The judge has barred open-court arguments about what Bryant said to investigators July 2, a day after the alleged rape of a 19-year-old Colorado worker at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera.

But Winters provided a tantalizing glimpse inside the 75-minute interview with Bryant and the subsequent trip to the hospital to collect evidence such as hair and fiber samples.

Bryant's attorneys say prosecutors shouldn't be allowed to use the interview because it was secretly taped and Bryant was never read his rights even though he was, in effect, in custody.

They also want evidence obtained that day -- including a Bryant T-shirt stained with the accuser's blood -- thrown out.

Winters admitted he had signed an investigation document indicating Bryant had been officially detained, which would have required authorities to advise him of his rights to an attorney and to remain silent.

"It's your testimony today that he was not detained?" Haddon asked.

"It's how you perceive it, but there was an incident that occurred in the room," Winters said. He said the incident in Bryant's room led him to take Bryant to the hospital for the exam.

Bryant, his hand heavily taped after an accident in his garage last week, was back in court after missing Monday's hearing with an undisclosed illness.

Bryant says he had consensual sex with the employee of the mountain resort near Vail where he stayed last summer. The 25-year-old star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if he is convicted of felony sexual assault.

Legal observers say that to get Bryant's statement thrown out, the defense must show he felt he was unable to leave the interview. Someone who is being questioned in custody must be read their rights.

Haddon also asked Winters why authorities didn't videotape the Bryant interview as they had done with the accuser, relying instead in an audio tape recorder in the pocket of one of the detectives.

"So you didn't provide Mr. Bryant with the same courtesy that you provided the complaining witness?" Haddon said.

"We used the equipment we felt was the best to talk to Mr. Bryant with," Winters replied.

Winters described the Los Angeles Lakers star's reaction when authorities arrived at the Colorado resort to question him.

"What's going on, fellas? What's up, fellas?" Bryant asked the two detectives, according to Winters.

The detective said Bryant didn't say a word during an hourlong drive to the Glenwood Springs hospital for the exam.

After the exam, Winters said, Bryant turned to detectives and said, "Do the best investigation that you can." They shook hands and he left with his bodyguards.

The actual interview in Bryant's room at the resort is not being discussed in open court. The judge has said the material could harm Bryant's right to a fair trial and may not even be admitted as evidence.

On Monday, at least seven witnesses, including the accuser's mother, were called to testify behind closed doors on whether the woman waived her right to medical privacy by discussing her medical history with family members and others.

The defense wants to be able to use the woman's medical background against her in hopes of undermining her credibility and backing up its claim that she had a "scheme" to falsely accuse Bryant
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