Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Cameras will remain in Bryant courtroom

NBA notebook

The Associated Press

EAGLE, Colo. - The judge in the Kobe Bryant case Monday rejected the NBA star's request to keep cameras out of the courtroom during his first court appearance on a sexual assault charge.

Bryant's attorneys argued against allowing cameras during the hearing scheduled Wednesday, saying they could jeopardize Bryant's right to a fair trial.

Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett ruled that was unlikely.

"Defendant's objections are general in nature and do not allege any specific prejudice which may result from expanded media coverage," the judge wrote.

At Wednesday's hearing, Gannett will advise Bryant of the charge against him, of his rights and of the possible penalty. His order said there would be no discussions of evidence or fact-finding.

• The maker of Nutella chocolate spread said Monday it is phasing out endorsements from Kobe Bryant in part because of the sexual assault charge against the NBA superstar.

Ferrero, an Italian company with U.S. headquarters in Somerset, N.J., said its contract with the Los Angeles Lakers guard expires in January.

"Marketing plans established earlier this year did not contemplate a contract renewal," the company said in a statement. "In keeping with this decision, and considering the recent developments, Kobe's image on Nutella labels and promotional material is being phased out."

CLIPPERS: Olden Polynice is returning to Los Angeles, nearly 12 years after his first stint with the team.

Polynice last played in the NBA with the Utah Jazz in the 2000-2001 season, averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 81 games.

He signed with the Philadelphia 76ers last October but was released two weeks later after seeing limited action in four preseason games.

HORNETS: New Orleans signed reserve forward George Lynch to a contract extension Monday.

Lynch, 10-year NBA veteran, averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 18.5 minutes in 81 games with the Hornets last season.

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