A newly-released FBI report details how a Swiss bodybuilder offered to kill the person who accused Kobe Bryant of rape in exchange for $3 million.
Bryant, who died in January 2020 when he was 41 years old, was charged with one count of felony assault in 2003 following an accusation made by a woman who worked at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Colorado.
The then-19-year-old alleged she had accompanied Bryant on a tour of the property before going to his room, where she claims he raped her. However, prosecutors ultimately dropped the case in September 2004 after the accuser decided she would not testify.
Following the allegations, bodybuilder Patrick Graber was sentenced in 2004 to three years in prison for a murder-for-hire plot against the accuser, with the details of the case outlined this month in the report published to the FBI’s vault website, which archives cases with a large public interest.
Large parts of the report are heavily redacted, the Denver Post reports, including Graber’s name, though it was made public when he was sentenced in 2004. The report details how he used Federal Express to mail the basketball player an offer which included ‘inferences that he could make Bryant’s problem with respect to the sexual assault case go away for a fee’.
In the letter, Graber reportedly also offered to ‘influence the victim’ during the trial against Bryant and, if that failed, go ‘all the way to remove the witness’.
Upon receiving the offer, Bryant’s security team and his attorney took the letter to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which conducted a controlled meeting with the suspect as well as interviewing people who knew Graber.
Los Angeles deputies also issued a warning to Bryant’s accuser about the threat from Graber, who is said to have been a member of a Gold’s Gym in Venice with alleged ties to the Russian mafia.
The FBI was able to catch bodybuilder after setting up meetings with him and arranging to pay him with fake money used on movies. Following his arrest, Graber was ordered to be deported from the US upon finishing his sentence.
In response to the allegations made against him, Bryant claimed the sex with the hotel worker was consensual. The two ultimately reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit, and the professional basketball player apologised but did not admit guilt.
Bryant died last year in a helicopter crash that also killed eight other people on board, including the basketball player’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read