Kobe Bryant’s accuser filed a civil lawsuit on Tuesday, seeking at least $75,000 in compensatory damages from the Lakers star, with punitive damages to be determined later.
The filing requires a lower standard of proof but might complicate the criminal trial for sexual assault that’s scheduled to begin Aug. 27. After the civil suit was filed, prosecutors in Bryant’s sexual assault case asked for a delay in the criminal trial.
As with the criminal case, the civil suit accuses Bryant, 25, of attacking the woman, 20, in his room at a Vail-area resort on June 30, 2003, causing her to be the target of “public scorn, hatred and ridicule” that has led to emotional and physical problems that linger to this day.
Attorneys John Clune and Lin Wood also accused Bryant of similar misconduct involving other women, but provided no details, the Associated Press reports. The standard of proof in civil cases is lower than it is in criminal cases.
Bryant has called the sex with the accuser consensual. If convicted in the criminal case, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a maximum fine of $750,000.
Bryant’s attorneys have previously argued that the woman falsely accused Bryant to gain the attention of a former boyfriend, and that she was awarded nearly $20,000 from a victims’ compensation fund.
“Now all of a sudden it looks like this whole thing was for money. If it’s otherwise, then why would she file a civil case?” said Dan Recht, former president of the Colorado Criminal Bar Association. “In my mind, they would never file a civil case without having a strategy of getting the criminal case dismissed.”