The criminal case against Kobe Bryant is over, but the legal battle between Bryant and his accuser, and the wrangling between his lawyers and prosecutors, goes on. Last week Pamela Mackey, Bryant's lead attorney, was able to get a temporary restraining order that will--for the time being, at least--seal all arrest and criminal records from the Bryant case because, she argued, they include "highly sensitive, confidential, embarrassing and private matters."
SI has obtained the sealed statement made by Bryant and recorded by police before he was arrested. Among the details:
• When he was questioned by two police officers in the parking lot of the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in the early morning of July 2, 2003, Bryant, after first denying an encounter took place, admitted to "holding her around her neck from behind" and graphically described a series of sex acts he engaged in with his accuser.
• As the officers and Bryant made small talk while walking to his room, Bryant told them he would pay his accuser to make the charges go away because "I'm in the worst f situation."
• During the interview Bryant told police about "a girl in Virginia named 'Michelle'" with whom he said he had had a consensual sexual relationship.
• In their summary of the conversation, police said Bryant told them that he should have paid the woman to keep quiet--and mentioned another NBA player who he said had done that. Bryant said the player would pay women "not to say anything," and that he had spent up to a million dollars to get out of situations like Bryant's. Bryant told the police that he had never had to resort to paying hush money, stating that he "treats a woman with respect, therefore, they shouldn't say anything."
To date, Bryant's accuser hasn't said anything to a jury, and she probably never will. Because his lawyers negotiated a dismissal of the charges against Bryant with prejudice, he cannot be retried on the same sexual assault charges. And it's unlikely there will be a civil trial for her to testify in. The prospect of the release of the statement, which his attorneys worked so hard to have sealed, provides Bryant with a compelling incentive to seek a settlement, the terms of which may never be made public. --Jeff Benedict