<
>

West Virginia-based group leaves fliers

EAGLE, Colo. -- A white supremacist group acknowledged
Tuesday it left fliers around this mountain community telling
whites not to have sex with blacks, and said the fliers were in
response to the sexual assault case against NBA superstar Kobe
Bryant.

The fliers were mailed or left on lawns and windshields by the
West Virginia-based National Alliance. National Alliance spokesman
Erich Gliebe said in a telephone interview the Bryant case was
"absolutely" the motivation.

"We're concerned about areas such as Eagle County, where they
have a relatively small number of blacks," he said.


Gliebe told ESPN's Shelley Smith that 3,000 of the fliers were distributed, and that the group plans to distribute more as the case continues.

The Los Angeles Lakers star, who is black, is charged with
assaulting a white 19-year-old hotel worker at a resort in nearby
Edwards in June. He has said the sex was consensual.


The fliers might provide the kind of evidence Bryant's defense could use to get the trial moved, according to ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack. But Cossack doesn't think lawyers will seek a change of venue, and said the flier itself is not strong enough evidence to believe the jury pool has been tainted.

Eagle County sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Andree said deputies were
investigating, but the only crime that may have been committed was
littering.

Earlier Tuesday, Andree said authorities knew of no connection
between the fliers and the case against Bryant. She did not return
a telephone message Tuesday night after Gliebe's comments.

Bryant's lawyer and a prosecutor's spokeswoman did not return
after-hours messages Tuesday.

The fliers were headlined "Don't have sex with blacks." They
listed the names of three black men and accused them of lying about
carrying HIV when they slept with white women.

The National Alliance was founded by the late William Pierce,
author of the racist novel "The Turner Diaries" that figured
prominently in the Oklahoma City bombing case. Pierce left nearly
everything he owned to the group when he died of cancer in July
2002.

FBI spokeswoman Ann Atanasio said the agency was monitoring the
situation but taking no action.

"There is no threat contained in them," she said of the
fliers. "This is apparently a common tactic used by the National
Alliance."

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert was not concerned that the
fliers would affect the Bryant case, spokeswoman Krista Flannigan
said. Bryant's lawyer did not return an after-hours telephone
message.

Andree would not say whether the National Alliance or other
groups had distributed fliers in Eagle before. She did not know how
many fliers had been left.

The fliers listed a Denver-area phone number that is answered by
a recorded message touting white supremacy. The man on the
recording identifies himself as Pierce.

Mayor Roxie Deane called the fliers "totally unacceptable."
She received two were mailed to her bearing Denver postmarks.

"We are definitely not racists," Deane said of her town's
3,500 residents. "In fact, I've gone out of my way in interviews
to say that. I don't know if they're offended by that."

Mark Potok, spokesman for the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern
Poverty Law Center, which monitors white supremacist groups, said
the National Alliance often distributes similar fliers.

"They do have a history of coming in to communities where they
sense some kind of racial conflict and doing their best to take
advantage of that," Potok said. "I think they see that the Kobe
Bryant case is getting very different reactions from white America
and black America.

"They're there to exploit that position, they're hoping white
people angered at this alleged rape will join them in their
quest."

In December, fliers urging people to join the National Alliance
were left on doorsteps and driveways in Colorado Springs. In
February 2002, similar fliers bearing the alliance's name were left
in Lakewood, a Denver suburb.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.