Authorities dust off metal detector for Kobe Bryant court hearing

Updated: August 4, 2003, 7:11 PM ET

EAGLE, Colo. -- Expecting scores of reporters and with prosecutors getting death threats, officials will clear the docket before Kobe Bryant's first court appearance this week and make everyone go through a metal detector.

"I think we're going to be ready. I hope," court administrator Christine Yuhas said Monday.

The 24-year-old star for the Los Angeles Lakers is charged with assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee June 30 at a resort in nearby Edwards. He has said the two had consensual sex.

On Wednesday, Bryant is scheduled to appear in court to be formally advised of the felony charge against him and the potential penalty.

The hearing will be brief, probably somewhere between three and 10 minutes. But it is attracting media attention like Eagle has never seen.

Judge Fred Gannett said the Eagle County District Attorney's Office has received death threats, which have been forwarded to investigators. He refused to elaborate, but said the court has had "volumes of correspondence" regarding the Bryant case.

Authorities are still investigating the threats, district attorney's spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said.

"This isn't the first time it's happened," she said. "It's a public office and there's always that potential."

Authorities walked along the courthouse grounds Monday, inspecting a media overflow tent and a roped area where photographers will stand to grab a snapshot of the NBA star.

Bryant will appear before Gannett in a courtroom with 68 seats, far fewer than what can accommodate the number of reporters covering the case. The courthouse's other two courtrooms will be empty by the time Bryant shows up.

Everyone attending the hearing will go through a metal detector.

"It's standard procedure in a high-profile case like this," Eagle County Undersheriff Ken Wilson said. The metal detector can also screen out cell phones and tape recorders, which have been barred by the judge.

The county pulled out its metal detector earlier this year for a murder trial and last fall when a former Georgetown mayor faced false reporting charges.

Bryant has not yet requested an official escort from the Vail airport, about six miles west of the courthouse, Wilson said.

At least five deputies will be assigned to the courthouse.

"It's going to be a challenge," he said. "We've never had anything in Eagle County this big."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index