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Kobe Bryant Case

Aired September 22, 2003 - 13:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Formal charges expected today against a Swiss bodybuilder who allegedly went to Kobe Bryant's people and offered to kill Bryant's accuser.
CNN's Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles to fill us in on the story of Mr. Graber.

Hello, Miguel, how are you?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very good. How are you there, Miles?

Patrick Graber is that Swiss bodybuilder. He allegedly offered himself up as a hitman to kill the Colorado woman who is accusing Kobe Bryant of sexual assault. Thirty-one-year-old Patrick Graber is looking at a criminal complaint from the L.A. DA that contains eight counts. The charges include solicitation to commit murder and solicitation to dissuade a witness. All the charges against him, all eight, charges are felonies.

According to the L.A. County sheriff, Graber contacted Bryant by letter earlier this month, telling the Lakers superstar that he was going to "help solve Kobe's problem" -- that's a quote -- that he could make his accuser disappear. Bryant turned the letter over to the sheriff's office, and a sting was set up. Several meetings between Graber and undercover detectives ensued, and Graber named his price $1 million up front and another $2 million once the deed was done.

Graber was arrested in an El Segundo parking lot last Thursday as he went to grab what he thought was a bag full of cash. Graber told undercover agents he has ties to the Russian mob, a claim investigators are still checking it out.

The sheriff's office says Graber is in the U.S. on an expired visa, and was arrested for fraud in his native Switzerland. Graber's arraignment is expected later today. The district attorney wants to set bail at $2 million -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles, thanks very much.

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