July 21, 2003 01:00 AM

Kobe Bryant’s unnamed accuser was “sick” watching the NBA star’s tearful news conference Friday — at which the L.A. Lakers guard denied sexually assaulting her — and she “couldn’t believe he was crying,” a friend of the 19-year-old woman tells TV’s “Celebrity Justice.”

The friend also says that the accuser, a hotel clerk who claims Bryant “snapped” after she gave him a tour of the resort where he was staying, “doesn’t want any money from Kobe. She just wants him to go to jail,” according to the program, which plans to air the friend’s interview Monday.

The “Celebrity Justice” source is not named, but a young woman named Rachel Yandle appeared on Monday’s “Today” show essentially saying the same information — adding that Bryant, at his news conference, was “trying to make it sound like nothing happened.”

Bryant faced reporters Friday and declared his innocence only hours after he was charged with sexual assault — a class-three felony that can carry a prison term of four years to life and a probation period of 20 years to life, said Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlburt.

Bryant is currently free on $25,000 bond.

The alleged incident occurred June 30 at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, a four-star lodge near the resort town of Vail where Bryant was staying and where the woman works.

After the charges were announced, Bryant, clutching the hand of his wife Vanessa, 21, appeared at a press conference inside L.A.’s Staples Center.

“I’m innocent, you know,” he said. “I didn’t force her to do anything against her will. I’m innocent.”

He went on to say, “I sit here in front of you guys, furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making the mistake of adultery. And I love my wife with all my heart.”

As a tear rolled down Bryant’s left cheek, he then told his wife: “You’re my backbone. You’re a blessing. You’re a piece of my heart. You’re the air I breathe. And you’re the strongest person I know, and I’m so sorry for having to put you through this and having to put our family through this.”

Bryant stressed, “I’m innocent. And together my wife and I and our family, we’re going to fight these false accusations.”

Various press reports say the alleged victim is a familiar figure in Eagle as a former high school cheerleader and musician who last year tried out to be on “American Idol.”

There also have been reports, including several mentions on Monday’s “Today” show, that the accuser suffered a pill overdose last month. Neither Hurlburt nor Yandle would respond to questions about the accuser’s stability.

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