Feds unseal records in man's $3M scheme to kill Kobe Bryant rape accuser

Scooby Axson
USA TODAY

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released documents detailing a man's offer to make Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's 2003 rape case disappear by killing his accuser. The man reached out to Bryant unsolicited and didn't appear to have any ties to the Lakers star. 

In the 17-page document that was released last week, the person who made the $3 million offer was not identified, but the man claimed he was from Switzerland and had a California driver’s license.

The man was later identified by other news outlets as Patrick Graber, a bodybuilder who lived in a Los Angeles suburb. Graber, then 31, tried to collect a $1 million payment in the scheme but was instead arrested in September 2003 by FBI agents and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 

Patrick Graber stands during his arraignment Sept 22, 2003, in Los Angeles.

The probe started after Bryant’s bodyguards received a FedEx package with a letter in it describing the plan. The letter was turned over by Bryant's security team and his attorney to the LA County Sheriff's Department.

Graber was caught by FBI agents when they met with him and arranged to make a payment using fake money. 

Graber pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to three years in prison and was subsequently deported after his release.

Bryant was in Vail, Colorado, prepping for knee surgery in July 2003 when a woman accused him of raping her in a hotel room. Bryant was arrested but denied raping the woman and the case was dismissed after his accuser said she did not want to testify at trial. 

The woman filed a civil suit against Bryant, which was settled out of court.

Bryant and seven others, including his 13-year old daughter, Gianna, died on Jan. 26, 2020, from injuries following a helicopter crash.