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Man accused of threatening Kobe Bryant accuser

John Roche is shown in a 1999 graduation photo.
John Roche is shown in a 1999 graduation photo.

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EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- A 22-year-old Iowa man was arrested Thursday for allegedly threatening to kill the woman who has accused NBA star Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.

John William Roche of Iowa City was taken into custody without incident by FBI agents and officers of the Iowa City Police Department, authorities said.

A federal grand jury in Denver indicted Roche on Wednesday for allegedly making a threatening phone call across state lines. Roche faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Roche is to make an initial appearance in federal court in Davenport, Iowa, on Friday.

Court documents do not specify who the death threat was made against, only saying that it was made against a witness in the Bryant case. However, a law enforcement source told CNN the threat was directed at the 19-year-old alleged victim.

According to the indictment, the obscenity-laced threat was left on the home answering machine. Roche allegedly threatened to use a coat hanger in a vulgar fashion and said, "I'll kill you."

Phillip Reid, FBI special agent in charge, said in a statement: "This type of behavior is repugnant to the spirit of dignity and fairness that underlies the judicial process."

Bryant, 24, faces an October 9 preliminary hearing on charges he assaulted the 19-year-old woman June 30 at a mountain lodge in Colorado, where she was an employee and Bryant was a guest.

Bryant, who is married and the father of a 7-month-old daughter, has acknowledged he had sex with the woman, but he insists it was consensual.

The judge in the case said Thursday he would release the warrant that ordered the arrest of the NBA star.

Affidavits and other documents containing details of what allegedly happened in Bryant's hotel room would be kept sealed, as would the search warrant.

The prosecution and defense had sought to keep all the material sealed, while members of the news media sought its release.

Both sides have 10 days to appeal the ruling before the documents are actually released. (Full story)

CNN Correspondent Mike Brooks contributed to this report.


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