Kobe on a Break-Away


Call me cynical, but I've always thought the Kobe Bryant case turned on a few poorly understood realities. The first is timing.

A warrant for Bryant's arrest is issued over the Fourth of July holiday, a classic dead-zone where the legal folk are "out-of-pocket." Recall the murmurs of discontent that the Eagle County sheriff did this without first consulting with the prosecutor's office.

I maintain that had a prosecutor been in the loop early on, they would've covertly triggered the standard civil-settlement, hush-hush payoff deal that is routine, yet top-secret, when johnsons of the rich and famous get a little too frisky.

Instead, once Kobe was arrested Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert really had no choice but to charge Kobe with rape. Elected sheriffs in rural place like Eagle County can have enormous influence on a community. That is another basic reality that is often overlooked. Hurlbert would've had to be completely comfortable with telling the world his local sheriff was, in effect, a rube to decline to bring charges after Kobe's arrest.

Accordingly, even if Hurlbert found the case less than air-tight and his complaining witness bed-bug crazy, he had little choice but to slog ahead. Until now, when his witness has reportedly bailed on him.

Back to you sheriff.