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Jeffrey Toobin: Bryant prosecutors carried out poor investigation


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The woman who has accused Kobe Bryant of rape files a civil lawsuit.
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(CNN) -- On Wednesday prosecutors in Colorado announced that they had asked the judge overseeing the sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant to delay the trial, scheduled to begin August 27. (Full story)

The request came one day after the woman who has accused the NBA star of rape filed a civil lawsuit against Bryant. (Woman files lawsuit)

CNN anchor Miles O'Brien discussed the recent developments in the case with CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

MILES O'BRIEN: Let's talk about Kobe Bryant. Essentially, I guess the prosecutor is pretty much putting up the white flag at this point. Why don't you walk us through the strategy and why they would ask for a delay at this juncture.

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, things have been going so badly for the prosecutors at this point. You have the alleged victim, the accuser, virtually saying that she's out of the case, that she doesn't want to participate. She has filed a civil lawsuit which, of course, calls her motives into question.

What the prosecutors have done now is what lawyers always try to do when they are in trouble, which is delay, hope things get better with a little time.

But what is interesting here is what will Kobe Bryant's lawyers do in response? One aggressive response might be to say, "Heck no, we don't want any delay. You indicted this guy. You said you could go to trial. Let's go to trial now."

Hold the prosecutor's feet to the fire in hope that that's the factor that causes them to pull the plug altogether.

O'BRIEN: Well, and I can't imagine the defense not doing that under these circumstances. They do have a speedy trial law there in Colorado, which they can rely upon, or is that not as ironclad as we think?

TOOBIN: Speedy trial laws are very easy to get around. There are times (when it is) excluded. It's really, I think, more of a strategic question than a legal question. And I don't think ... the defense lawyers will be pulled in two directions because you just always want a delay. Defendants never really want to rush to trial.

But here with the prosecutor so clearly reeling it seems to me the likely strategy is they will just say, "Hey, you indicted him, you said you could go to trial, let's go and see what happens."

O'BRIEN: You know, this one is worth a couple thousand words by one Jeff Toobin in The New Yorker, because I'm very curious about where to point the fingers on that one. That courtroom was a mess. Was it the prosecution? Was it the judge? What happened?

TOOBIN: I think the prosecutors are the problems here. I think this case was inadequately investigated before it was indicted.

If you look at the evidence that has come out about DNA that was on the accuser's body when she came to court, that is -- when she was examined following the rape exam -- DNA that could not be associated with Kobe Bryant. I don't know how you indict a case at that point.

There was no hurry to indict him. Kobe Bryant wasn't going anywhere. I think if this case falls apart the prosecutors are really going to have a lot to answer for. I don't blame the judge at all.


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