Aug. 4, 2003 -- — A bellman at the Colorado lodge where Kobe Bryant is accused of raping a 19-year-old woman told police he saw the alleged victim after the incident and that she was visibly upset and disheveled, ABCNEWS and ESPN have learned.
Sources told ABCNEWS and ESPN, ABCNEWS' sister sports division, that the bellman, who worked with the alleged victim at Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, Colo., told police that he saw the woman shortly after she left Bryant's room on June 30, the night of the alleged assault. The bellman, sources said, told police that she told him what happened in the Los Angeles Lakers guard's hotel room.
Bryant, 24, is charged with sexual assault for allegedly raping the college student while he was in Colorado for knee surgery in late June. The NBA superstar, who is married and has an infant daughter, has admitted committing adultery with the woman but insists the sex was consensual.
Last week, ABCNEWS reported that Bryant and his alleged victim had some intimate contact, but prosecutors will argue that she did not consent to intercourse. Bryant and the alleged victim met when he checked into the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera on June 30. Sources said she gave him a tour of the facility's hotel and spa.
The sources said the tour ended at Bryant's room, where he allegedly invited her to come inside and she accepted. The woman was in Bryant's room for less than half an hour, sources told ABCNEWS. There was some consensual contact between the NBA superstar and his accuser, but the woman says she did not consent to intercourse.
She sustained some physical injuries, sources said, which Eagle County prosecutors are expected to argue are indicative of sexual assault.
Under Colorado law, a rape can still occur if the victim consents to some sexual activity, but later withdraws her consent or refuses to give consent to other sexual activity, including intercourse. Sources said Bryant's trial could boil down to a battle of medical experts from the defense and prosecution over whether the young woman's alleged injuries indicate nonconsensual sex.
Company Won’t Renew Endorsement Contract
This latest development in the case comes as the maker of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread said today it would not renew its endorsement deal with Bryant in part because of the sexual assault charge he faces. Ferrero, an Italian company with U.S. headquarters in Somerset, N.J., said it had discontinued all promotions involving Bryant, who spent some time living in Italy as a child when his father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a former NBA star, signed a contract to play in the Italian basketball league.
"Ferrero U.S.A.'s contract with Kobe Bryant expires in January 2004," the company said in a statement. "Marketing plans established earlier this year did not contemplate a contract renewal. In keeping with this decision, and considering the recent developments, Kobe's image on Nutella labels and promotional material is being phased out."
But many of his fans still love Kobe Bryant. This weekend, he appeared with his wife, Vanessa, at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, where he was picked as the favorite male athlete.
As he accepted his trophy, a multicolored surfboard with the words "Teen Choice Awards 2003," Bryant thanked the audience and, paraphrasing Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere."
Bryant will be formally advised of the charge against him at a hearing on Aug. 6. He faces probation to life in prison if convicted on the single felony count.