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Prosecutors Drop Sex Case Against Bryant

September 2, 2004 GMT

EAGLE, Colo. (AP) _ The Kobe Bryant case collapsed Wednesday as prosecutors said they had no choice but to drop the sexual assault charge against the NBA star because the alleged victim did not want to testify.

With the parents of the 20-year-old accuser looking on, District Judge Terry Ruckriegle threw out the case under a deal that means no charges will be refiled.

``The people have filed a motion to dismiss this case based on the fact the sole victim at this time is unable to go forward,″ District Attorney Mark Hurlbert told the judge. He said the alleged victim did not want to participate in the trial, including taking the stand.

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The woman’s attorney, John Clune, said his client has been through an extremely difficult time over the past 14 months and was disturbed by a series of courthouse mistakes that included the release of her name and medical history. Speaking on her behalf, Clune told the judge, ``it is in her sincere belief that when this case ends she does not want to be brought back into the criminal process.″

``The difficulties that this case has imposed on this woman the past year are unimaginable,″ he said.

Ruckriegle admitted mistakes had been made and took full responsibility.

Bryant still faces a federal civil lawsuit filed by the accuser that seeks unspecified damages.