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Funds would cover experts, staffing expenses

DENVER, Colo. -- Kobe Bryant's prosecutor has asked for
nearly $200,000 next year to handle expenses in the sexual assault
case, including hiring strangulation specialists and other expert
witnesses.

Commissioners of Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek and Lake counties
have to approve their 2004 budgets by early December. District
Attorney Mark Hurlbert, whose base request to the counties was $1.8
million, told officials Thursday the Bryant case will require more
money.

"We've never done a trial like this," he said. "No one in the
state has ever done a trial like this."

He said he expects to spend $45,500 on expert witnesses,
including the specialists on strangulation, sexual assault and
trauma, and $143,000 for extra staffing.

"It is bargain basement," Hurlbert said during the annual
budget meeting.

Summit County Commission Chairman Gary Lindstrom said Friday he
expected the counties to approve the request along with Eagle, Clear Creek and
Lake counties.

"We were not surprised at the amount of the request and feel it
was probably what we expected," Lindstrom said. "We didn't feel
as though it was excessive."

District attorneys in Colorado receive state funding, but each
county in their judicial districts is also required to contribute.
In Hurlbert's district, the counties' contributions are divided
under a formula that takes into account county population, sales
tax revenue and other factors.

Eagle County commissioners earlier this year approved an
additional $105,000 for Hurlbert's office for expenses in the
Bryant case that could come up this fiscal year, which ends Dec.
31. Hurlbert so far has spent $30,000 of that amount, county
assistant administrator Becky Gadell said.

Bryant, 25, is charged with felony sexual assault in Eagle
County, where he is accused of raping a 19-year-old employee at the
resort where was staying June 30. Free on $25,000 bond, the NBA
star is scheduled to appear Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Hurlbert said additional staffing costs include $75,175 for
Deputy District Attorney Ingrid Bakke on loan from Boulder County,
$63,425 for an investigator, $34,050 for a legal assistant and
$76,000 to be split between spokeswoman Krista Flannigan and a
victim-services consultant.

Money for expert witnesses included $20,000 for a jury
consultant, $2,500 for a strangulation expert and $3,000 for a
rape-trauma expert, according to figures obtained by The Denver
Post.

Officials of the four counties agreed Thursday to split the
additional costs according to the traditional formula, Lindstrom
said.

"The district attorney pointed out that it's going to be less
expensive than what he would normally incur in a capital murder
case and we have capital murder cases on a fairly regular basis,"
Lindstrom said. "But it's probably more expensive than a normal
sexual assault case."