Bryant appears in court; preliminary hearing October 9

Updated: August 6, 2003, 8:17 PM ET

EAGLE, Colorado - Kobe Bryant's next day in court will be during training camp.

Facing a rape charge, the superstar guard of the Los Angeles Lakers waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 30 days, accepting a date of October 9.

Wearing a white shirt and no tie beneath a cream-colored suit, Bryant said just two words during the six-minute proceeding before Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett.

When Gannett asked Bryant if he objected to the waiving of the 30-day rule, Bryant simply said, "No, sir."

Training camp for the Lakers begins September 30 in Honolulu. Veterans now are allowed to report several days later than rookies, but Bryant will have to leave the team for at least a day or two for his next appearance here.

At the preliminary hearing, Bryant will enter a plea. He is charged with raping a 19-year-old woman at a Colorado resort on June 30 and is free on bond.

Bryant, 24, maintains the sex was consensual and says he is guilty only of adultery. If convicted, he faces at least four years in prison.

Earlier Wednesday, ABC News, citing unidentified sources familiar with the case, reported that on the night in question, Bryant blocked the door of his hotel room when his accuser tried to leave. ABC News also reported that the original arrest warrant included a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment that later was removed.

With hundreds of media members camped outside the courtroom and several more inside, Bryant arrived in an SUV and entered the building flanked by high-powered attorneys Hal Haddon and Pamela Mackey.

Haddon, who represented the parents in the famed Jon-Benet Ramsey child murder case, said virtually nothing throughout the hearing. Mackey, who represented former NHL player Patrick Roy in a domestic violence case, answered most of Gannett's questions. "This is a very fast event for so much attention," Gannett said as the hearing neared its end.

As Bryant left the courthouse and slipped back into the SUV, he was cheered by people who were crowded around the building. He was not accompanied by his wife, Vanessa, who has released a statement believing her husband's innocence of any crime.

Gannett also sternly warned Bryant's lawyers and the prosecution headed by Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert about the steady stream of news leaks related to the case.

Since Bryant was charged on July 18, there have been numerous reports regarding the identity and background of the alleged victim, who has had her pictures posted on some web sites and her name revealed by a web site and radio station.

Court documents in the case are sealed. Citing the First Amendment, several media organizations have petitioned unsuccessfully to have them opened.

Hurlbert twice has said he is confident his office could prove Bryant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Bryant could seek a plea deal, but that would mark him for life as a sex offender.

One of the most popular and marketable sports figures, Bryant lost an endorsement deal with an Italian chocolate company earlier this week. He has much more lucrative deals with McDonald's, Sprite and Spalding in addition to his six-year, $71 million contract which expires in 2006.

The alleged incident took place June 30 in Bryant's room at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera. He was in town for a surgical procedure.

Deputies received the complaint July 1, and Bryant offered a DNA sample at an area hospital the following day. Investigators reviewed physical evidence, conducted interviews and met with Hurlbert's office before issuing a warrant.

A cooperative Bryant turned himself in to authorities July 4 and was released after posting $25,000 bond. The father of a 7-month-old daughter has made two public appearances since, attending the ESPY Awards and Teen Choice Awards with Vanessa but declining to speak to reporters.

Recuperating from shoulder surgery, Bryant will not play for the United States in the Olympic qualifying tournament from August 20-31 in Puerto Rico.

Last season, he was second in the NBA in scoring at a career-high 30.0 points per game and posted career bests with 6.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists. The 6-6 guard scored at least 40 points in nine straight games and on March 5 became the youngest player to reach the 10,000-point plateau.

The son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, Kobe Bryant made the jump from high school in 1996. He won MVP honors at the 2002 All-Star Game in his native Philadelphia and has earned All-NBA first team honors each of the last two seasons.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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