Is a settlement the best way for Kobe Bryant to get past the rape allegation that has dogged him for nearly two years?
ABC News Radio is reporting that the NBA star and his 20-year-old accuser have reached an agreement in principle, with a settlement possible as early as this week. Attorneys for both sides aren't commenting.
Experts say they believe the two parties are eager to avoid a trial that would bring out intimate, embarrassing details on both sides.
Denver attorney Larry Pozner says some people will view a settlement as at least a partial admission of guilt, but would end any litigation.
Sports marketing consultant David Carter says Bryant has to end the civil case in some way if he hopes to regain a semblance of the rising-star image that brought him lucrative product endorsements before he was charged with felony sexual assault.
Bryant's accuser filed her lawsuit in Denver federal court last August, three weeks before the criminal case against the Los Angeles Lakers star collapsed when she decided she couldn't participate in the trial.
The woman says Bryant sexually assaulted her at the Vail-area resort where she worked in June 2003.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for mental injuries, humiliation and public scorn the woman said she suffered since the encounter. Bryant maintains the sex was consensual.
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