A few hours after NBA star Kobe Bryant had sex with a Vail-area hotel worker last summer, the woman exchanged cell phone text messages with a former boyfriend and someone else.
What's in those messages could help determine whether the sex was consensual or whether Bryant is guilty of rape as charged. The judge himself said the content may be "highly relevant" to the case. That the judge could order the woman's cell phone company to produce the messages so long after they were sent shouldn't surprise anyone, analysts say.
Texters beware. Like e-mail and Internet instant messages, text messages tend to be saved on servers. "One of the false assumptions that people make is that when they hit the delete button, messages are gone forever, but nothing can be further from the truth," said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecommunications analyst in Atlanta. The Bryant case appears to be the first high-profile U.S. criminal case in which cell phone text messages could be entered into the docket. In Europe and Asia, where texting is hugely popular, some criminal cases have hinged on them.
News source: CNN