Bryant arrested - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

7.18.03

Bryant arrested

"I'm innocent." Those words from Los Angeles Laker Basketball star Kobe Bryant after a district attorney announced that sexual assault charges were filed against the three-time NBA all-star.

"I sit here before you guys embarrassed and ashamed," Bryant told reporters during an emotional news conference with his wife, Vanessa, by his side. He added that he made a mistake - adultery, not assault, "I'm innocent. And together, my wife and I and our family, we're gonna to fight these false accusations."

The charge, according to Eagle County district attorney, a class three felony sexual assault with a possible sentence of four years to life in prison. "I feel that after looking at the evidence, after reviewing the evidence, that I can prove this case beyond reasonable doubt."

The Laker star turned himself in July fourth after the 19-year-old woman told police he sexually assaulted her four days earlier at a lodge in Edwards, Colorado near Vail where Bryant was staying. He was in the area for knee surgery. The accuser, from Eagle Colorado, and well-respected in the community, worked at the lodge.

A friend of the victim, Rachel Yandle spoke out about the incident, "it's not gonna be over for awhile and I trust her."

Superstar Kobe Bryant, his image and his future, now threatened. Bryant says he has a lot at stake, and it is much more than basketball and endorsements. He says he is fighting for his family.

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