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Man charged with offering to kill Bryant's accuser

Charges could carry more than nine years in prison

Patrick Graber was charged with solicitation of murder and solicitation to commit a crime.
Patrick Graber was charged with solicitation of murder and solicitation to commit a crime.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The Los Angeles County district attorney charged a Swiss national Monday with offering to arrange the killing of the woman who has accused Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant of raping her.

Patrick Graber -- who claims to have ties to the Russian mafia -- was charged with solicitation of murder and solicitation to commit a crime. Bail was set at $1 million. He is to be arraigned next Monday.

If convicted, Graber, 31, could spend a maximum of nine years and eight months in state prison.

Asked if his client has a history of mental illness, defense attorney Peter Kanecht said, "I think he's a little bit naive and not very swift. He's not the most intelligent guy in the world."

Investigators said they believe Graber, a physical trainer, acted alone.

Lt. Jim Taylor, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's lead detective in the case, said Graber was caught in a sting operation that was videotaped by undercover agents.

"The suspect agreed to carry out the act in exchange for $1 million up front and $2 million after the deed," Sheriff Lee Baca said Friday.

Although investigators have not ruled out the possibility that Graber has mob ties, he has an arrest record in his native Switzerland for fraud and is "a proven con artist," Baca said.

Graber, whose visa allowing him into the United States expired six months ago, sent a letter in early August to the Los Angeles Lakers asking that Bryant meet with him to "discuss a solution to your recently occurred problem," said a statement of probable cause in support of a request filed by police to obtain a search warrant for Graber's home.

Jose Revilla, director of security for the Lakers, intercepted the letter and, at the request of police, participated in the sting, police said.

On September 2, at a Starbucks in El Segundo, California, Revilla met with a man who identified himself as "Yuri," the affidavit said.

"During the meeting, 'Yuri' discussed several schemes that would benefit Kobe Bryant in his case in Colorado," the affidavit said.

At one point, "Yuri" said he could accomplish the plan for $3 million, the affidavit said. A records check on the man's cell phone and license plate led authorities to Graber, according to the affidavit.

On September 11, the two met again at the Starbucks, with Revilla wearing a wire, the affidavit said.

"The informant asked the suspect what he was proposing," the affidavit said. "The suspect stated that he was willing to go 'all the way.' The informant asked him what he meant by 'all the way,' and the suspect told him that he knew what he meant by 'all the way.' "

Graber was arrested after attempting to pick up what 'Yuri' was told would be his first payment, authorities said.

Bryant, 25, is accused of raping a 19-year-old employee of a Colorado resort hotel June 30. He has maintained that the sex was consensual.


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