A previously underreported twist in Kobe Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case was illuminated by a new batch of documents just released by the FBI.
The 2003 sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant, and the subsequent trial, are a piece of his personal history that’s generally left out or glossed over. At the time Bryant admitted to the sexual encounter but argued it was consensual, even though he eventually apologized to the 19-year-old woman and admitted that he understood how she might not have seen the incident as consensual. The criminal charges were eventually dismissed but Kobe settled a civil lawsuit out of court with the woman.
Those parts of the story are fairly well known, even if they aren’t included in discussions of Kobe’s legacy as often as they should be. But there’s another part to this story you might not have heard before.
One Kobe fan reached out and offered to murder his accuser for $3 million
A batch of new documents from the FBI were unsealed earlier this month and The Denver Post reported on this murder-for-hire twist:
“The report, which is heavily redacted, outlines the case against Patrick Graber, a Swiss bodybuilder who offered to kill Bryant’s accuser, a Colorado resident, for $3 million. The FBI posted the report on Sept. 1 to its vault website, an archive for cases with a large public interest.
Graber’s name is redacted from the report, but he was sentenced in 2004 to three years in prison for the scheme.
According to the FBI report, Graber mailed an offer to Bryant via Federal Express that included ‘inferences that he could make Bryant’s problem with respect to the sexual assault case go away for a fee.’”
To be clear, Kobe was not involved at all and the scheme went nowhere. Kobe’s and his legal team immediately turned the offer over to the police. They investigated and were responsible for the sting operation that eventually put Patrick Graber in jail.
In the end, it’s nothing more than a weird bit of trivia, but it does illustrate just how much public attention and interest the case generated at the time and how much pressure the accuser must have been under for trying to hold such a powerful figure accountable.