Judge dismisses Kobe Bryant rape case
The rape charge against basketball star Kobe Bryant collapsed when a Colorado judge dismissed the case after the woman who made the accusations told prosecutors she could not go on with the case.
The dismissal brought an abrupt halt to one of the most closely watched criminal cases in the United States.
Neither Bryant nor his 20-year-old accuser were present, but the Los Angeles Lakers star issued a statement that apologised to her without admitting any wrongdoing.
"Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognise now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way that I did," Bryant said in the statement.
The woman's parents were in the courtroom to hear the prosecutor explain that the woman, who has had death threats, could not go through with the trial.
"This motion is to dismiss based on the sole fact that the victim is unable to continue," District Attorney Mark Hurlbert told the judge at the onset of the hearing.
The woman told police that Bryant raped her after she entered his hotel room on June 30th, 2003 at a Vail-area resort where she worked.
The woman's attorney, Mr John Clune, revealed that police were investigating a rape crisis counsellor who may have been trying to sell information about the woman.
Mr Clune said that no discussions had taken place with Bryant's lawyer to settle a civil suit the woman filed, seeking monetary compensation. Dismissing the criminal case should not have an impact on the civil case, Mr Clune told the court.