Woman wanted civil suit to pay for breast job

Updated: November 6, 2004, 12:10 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- A month after a woman accused Kobe Bryant of rape, she told a friend she was considering suing the NBA star in civil court and wanted to buy breast augmentation surgery and a koala bear with any award money, according to court documents released Friday.

The details came in testimony from Sean Holloway, who knew the then-19-year-old woman from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

During a closed hearing March 2, defense attorney Hal Haddon asked Holloway about a conversation with the woman near the end of July 2003, about a month after the alleged assault. The hearing was to determine whether information about the woman's sexual activities could be used in court against her.

Haddon asked whether the woman had mentioned the possibility of a civil lawsuit.

"She said that after the case was over it was something that she was most likely going to do," Holloway said.

He testified the woman, an aspiring singer, wanted to use any award money to open a recording studio and to pay for breast augmentation surgery for herself and a friend. He also said she would buy a koala bear for another friend who liked the animals.

Under questioning by prosecutor Dana Easter, Holloway acknowledged he had trouble remembering details of the conversation. He refused to answer whether drug use might have affected his memory.

One of the woman's lawyers, L. Lin Wood, dismissed Holloway's testimony.

"Anyone that knows this young girl, and knows what she has done and why she has done it over the last year and half, and what's she's been through, will know that Mr. Holloway's story does not reflect the truth," he said.

It is unclear whether district judge Terry Ruckriegle had ruled on the prosecution's request to limit Holloway's testimony before prosecutors dropped the case against Bryant on Sept. 1 after the woman said she no longer wanted to participate.

According to a story posted Friday on the Los Angeles Times' Web site, a key moment in the accuser's decision not to testify came a week before the case was dropped, when she performed poorly in a mock trial staged by prosecutors.

The woman crumbled under cross-examination by an attorney who, playing the role of defense lawyer Pamela Mackey, got her to change her story about how long she had kissed Bryant consensually before the alleged assault, the Times reported.

Days before the trial was to begin, there was so much tension between Easter and fellow prosecutor Ingrid Bakke over who would handle direct questioning that they weren't talking to each other, the Times said; one didn't even know the mock trial had been scheduled.

"Their inability to even come to an agreement on who would handle her exam days before the start of the trial was a significant factor" in the accuser's decision to pull out of the case, Wood told the Times. "Every case and every witness has its problems and this case and this witness were not different. But skilled lawyers handle them, not add to them."

Another important factor was an agreement earlier in August between attorneys for Bryant and her accuser that if Bryant signed a formal apology, she would not testify against him. It took until the end of the month for both sides to agree on the language.

The woman, now 20, has filed a civil suit against Bryant in federal court for what she says have been months of pain and suffering since the alleged assault at a Vail-area resort where she once worked.

Holloway's testimony was contained in some 500 pages of documents among previously sealed documents the judge has ordered released at the request of news organizations, including The Associated Press.

Other documents include legal arguments over the defense's desire to use crime victim compensation records as evidence in an attempt to undermine the woman's credibility.

Defense attorneys argued that the records would help prove the woman misrepresented or omitted information she had to provide to the compensation board.

In other documents, the defense argued for the ability to tell jurors that Matt Herr, a former boyfriend of the woman, had refused to provide a DNA sample to compare to evidence found on her body and clothing after the alleged assault.

Haddon said that evidence indicated the woman had sex in the hours after her encounter with Bryant but before her hospital exam the next day. Attorneys for the woman have vehemently denied she had sex with anyone immediately after Bryant.

Earlier this week, the judge released lists of evidence both sides planned to present at trial. Among the defense exhibits were 15 identified as "Calgary photograph" and the March 8 issue of the Globe, a supermarket tabloid that published photos of the woman at parties in Calgary, Alberta.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press