Parties negotiating details, ABC News reports

Updated: March 2, 2005, 8:37 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Kobe Bryant has agreed in principle to a settlement with the woman who accused him of sexual assault, sources told ABC News on Tuesday.

 Kobe Bryant
Bryant

The NBA star was scheduled to give a deposition Friday, but when that was postponed, speculation arose that a settlement was in the works.

A deposition by the 20-year-old woman scheduled for Wednesday was also canceled, the Los Angeles Times reported in Wednesday's editions.

The parties were to meet and could have a signed agreement by the end of the week, ABC News reported.

The Lakers refused to comment.

L. Lin Wood and John Clune, attorneys for the 20-year-old accuser, were going to question Bryant on Friday, but Wood said Monday that the session was called off after his team arrived in Orange County, Calif., for the meeting.

The deposition -- where attorneys question a party to a lawsuit before trial, without a judge present -- would have been the first time Bryant had spoken under oath about what happened.

Wood declined further comment. Clune and Bryant's lead attorney Pamela Mackey did not immediately return calls.

"It sounds like somebody's talking numbers," said veteran plaintiff's attorney Mel Hewitt of Atlanta told The Associated Press on Monday. "We do that in a lot of cases. We'll push for the deposition knowing they don't want to talk to us and hopefully that makes somebody want to drag their checkbook out."

He said the deposition might also have been postponed for a simpler reason, such as an illness.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch previously refused to bar the woman's lawyers from asking Bryant about his sexual history. He said he would handle any objections to the questions afterward.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for mental injuries, humiliation and public scorn the woman said she has suffered since her June 2003 encounter with Bryant at the Vail-area resort where she worked.

The woman, now married and pregnant, sued Bryant in Denver federal court last summer, three weeks before the criminal case against him in Eagle County collapsed when she decided she could not take part in a trial.

Bryant, a married father of one, issued an apology but insisted the sex was consensual.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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