EAGLE, Colo. -- Prosecutors have recruited more help as they
pick the jury in the sexual assault trial of NBA star Kobe Bryant.
Joyce Seelen, an attorney and author, joined the team this week
to provide help "behind the scenes on all aspects of the case,"
prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said.
She declined to provide details, but Denver attorney Scott
Robinson said Seelen, a former public defender, is a highly
respected specialist in handling civil cases dealing with sexual
assault or abuse, especially cases involving clergy and others in a
position of trust.
"She's brilliant, committed to a cause: vindicating the victims
of sexual assault," he said.
Seelen, a former real estate agent in Hawaii, co-authored a book
on using a standardized personality-evaluation test in dealing with
expert witnesses and attorneys at trial.
She has a deep understanding of how people are affected by
others in positions of power or trust, said John Sadwith, executive
director of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. He said
prosecutors might suggest Bryant "had some kind of psychological
power" over the accuser.
The timing of Seelen's appearance -- during individual
questioning of potential jurors -- could indicate that prosecutors
wanted to seat jurors willing to accept an argument that the
Bryant's accuser was strongly affected by Bryant's celebrity, experts
"She does it in civil context they're doing it in a criminal
context, but people are people," said Dan Recht, former president
of the Colorado Criminal Bar Association. "In both cases, both as
a plaintiff's lawyer and as a prosecutor, you're in a sense
representing a victim of sexual assault."
Bryant, 26, has said he had consensual sex with the woman, then
19, at a Vail-area resort where she worked last summer. If
convicted, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to
life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.