US

Bodybuilder offered to kill Kobe Bryant’s rape accuser for $3M, FBI documents reveal 18 years later

A Swiss bodybuilder contacted Kobe Bryant out of the blue and offered to murder his rape accuser for $3million in 2003, according to an FBI report which has been unsealed 18 years later.

The 17-page, heavily-redacted report was posted to the FBI’s vault website this months – almost two decades after the offer was made.

Bodybuilder Patrick Graber’s name is redacted from the report – but was sentenced to three years in prison in 2004 over the scheme and was ordered to be deported.

The report details how Graber sent the Los Angeles Lakers’ star a letter offering his services in a murder-for-hire plot.

He allegedly wrote ‘he could make Bryant’s problem with respect to the sexual assault case go away for a fee.’

Bryant’s security and legal teams immediately alerted the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, according to the documents, and Graber was arrested in a sting operation. 

Bryant – who died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in January 2020 – was arrested and charged in 2003 after a 19-year-old woman accused him of rape in a Colorado hotel room.

Patrick Graber, a Swiss bodybuilder, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2004 over his plot to kill LA Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant’s rape accuser, and was ordered to be deported

Bryant was charged in 2003 with rape after having sex with a 19-year-old hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado. He is pictured here at the time with his attorney, Pamela Mackey

Bryant was charged in 2003 with rape after having sex with a 19-year-old hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado. He is pictured here at the time with his attorney, Pamela Mackey

The charges were later dropped after she refused to appear in court. A civil lawsuit was settled out of court, with Bryant apologizing but not admitting guilt. 

It is unclear why the murder-for-hire documents are now being made public on the FBI’s Vault website, a Freedom of Information Act library containing 6,700 documents and other media that have been scanned from paper into digital copies.

But, the website notes, new files are being added to the site on a regular basis. 

According to the newly-released documents, Graber mailed Bryant an offer to kill Bryant’s accuser for $3 million via Federal Express.

Bryant’s security and legal teams then contacted the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and federal officials notified his accuser of the alleged threat.

An undercover LA County Sheriff’s Department detective then met with Graber twice and recorded him saying he had a team that could ‘execute Bryant’s accuser leaving no evidence.’

He also allegedly said he could ‘influence the victim’ in the trial, and if that didn’t work he would ‘go all the way to remove the witness.’

Graber, who also worked as a security guard for celebrities, reportedly used the name ‘Yuri’ in his dealings with undercover officers.

He claimed he had ties to organized crime – possibly the Russian mafia – but detectives did not find any evidence he had those ties.

A search warrant was also served to a California residence, and firearms were found.

A subsequent investigation found that Graber, then 31, had been in the United States for about two years on an expired visa, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.  

Graber was arrested on September 18, 2003 after authorities agreed to pay him for the plot with prop money from Hollywood movie sets.

The charges against him were ultimately dropped after his accuser refused to testify

The charges against him were ultimately dropped after his accuser refused to testify

He reportedly tried to reach for the bag of fake money, and was immediately surrounded by more than 30 officers.

He pleaded no contest to grand theft in April 2004, after prosecutors dropped several charges, including solicitation to commit murder, and he was ordered to be deported after his release, ESPN reported at the time.

The newly-released documents also contained interviews with neighbors and co-workers of Graber, one of whom told the FBI on October 2, 2003 he was a member of Gold’s Gym in Venice, California, where Bryant also trained.

The witness said he was ’99 percent sure [the suspect] did not run into Bryant at Gold’s Gym when he trained.’

And a neighbor reported seeing Graber unload a large cardboard box from his car that displayed a ‘Winchester’ or ‘Remington’ label he believed contained a shotgun or a rifle.

‘[The neighbor] did not know [the suspect] well enough to joke with him, but asked if he was going to shoot him with that,’ the documents say. 

‘[The suspect] appeared to think the comment was funny and chuckled.’ 

Bryant admitted to having sex with the 19-year-old in his hotel room at The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle, Colorado, where he was undergoing knee surgery.

She was working as a front-desk clerk at the time, and accompanied Bryant on a tour of the property and later went to Bryant’s hotel room where she said he raped her.

Bryant was charged with one count of felony assault.

He admitted to having sex with the woman, but claimed it was consensual.

But soon, the Los Angeles Times reports, questions started to emerge in the case, and the accuser reportedly appeared unprepared to take the stand.

When she ultimately refused to testify, the charges against Bryant were dropped, and a settlement in a civil case against him was later reached. 

He later apologized for the interaction, but never admitted guilt. 

In a news conference after the criminal case was dismissed, he said: ‘First I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. 

‘I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this past year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure.

‘I also want to apologize to her friends and family members and to my family and friends and supporters and to the citizens of Eagle, Colorado

‘I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman.

‘No money has been paid to this woman,’ he said at the time. ‘She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case.

‘Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.

‘After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney and even her testimony in person, I now understands how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.

‘I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this ends today, another remains.

‘I understand that the civil case against me will go forward.

‘That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.’ 


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button