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NBA Star Kobe Bryant Makes First Court Appearance - 2003-08-07


U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant has made his first court appearance to face a charge of raping a teenage hotel worker.

Bryant stood quietly Wednesday in a packed courtroom in the western state of Colorado, while his attorneys waived his right to be advised of the sexual assault charge. He was not asked to enter a plea.

Eagle County Colorado Judge Frederick Gannett set a preliminary hearing date of October 9.

Bryant's wife, Vanessa, was not in attendance.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard had hoped to avoid the initial appearance, but his lawyers lost a bid last week to excuse him from the hearing.

The 24-year-old NBA star is accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee in his room at a luxury resort in Colorado on June 30. He has admitted to committing adultery, but insists the encounter was consensual.

The case has attracted media from around the world. Outside the courthouse, a small city of television satellite trucks was set up next to about a dozen platforms for live television shots. Many people from the town of Eagle also gathered near the courtroom.

Eagle County prosecutors filed the felony charge against Bryant last month. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he is confident prosecutors will prove to a jury that Bryant is guilty. Bryant, who is free on a $25,000 bond, could face life in prison if convicted.

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