A twisted Swiss bodybuilder living in California offered NBA legend Kobe Bryant $3 million to kill the Colorado woman who accused him of rape in an unsolicited murder-for-hire scheme, newly unsealed FBI documents show.
A 17-page, heavily redacted report from 2003 details how Patrick Graber, then 31, mailed Bryant an offer via Federal Express saying he could make the star shooting guard’s “problem with respect to the sexual assault case go away” for a fee.
Bryant’s security staffers and attorney relayed the letter to investigators, who set up a controlled meeting with Graber, who “offered to influence” Bryant’s rape accuser and to go “all the way” to remove the witness if those efforts failed.
Deputies notified Bryant’s accuser about the threat, according to the FBI report. Graber was arrested in September 2003 while trying to collect his first payment of $1 million after setting up meetings with FBI investigators who arranged to pay him with fake money from Hollywood movie sets, according to the report.
Graber, a Swiss national who lived in El Segundo for two years, had worked as a trainer at a Gold’s Gym in Venice, the document shows. He was charged that month with one count of solicitation to commit murder and one count of solicitation to dissuade a witness, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Graber, who faced nearly 10 years in prison, was sentenced in 2004 to three years behind bars for the attempted murder-for-hire scheme.
Bryant’s 19-year-old accuser claimed the five-time NBA champ raped her in a hotel room in Eagle, Colorado, in 2003 while he was in town to undergo knee surgery, the Denver Post reported.
Bryant, then 24, insisted the encounter with the hotel’s front-desk clerk was consensual, but was charged with felony sexual assault. The charge was ultimately dropped some 14 months later after the woman refused to testify. She and Bryant later settled in a civil lawsuit and the Lakers star apologized but did not admit guilt, the Denver Post reported.
Graber, meanwhile, was deported back to Switzerland after pleading guilty to grand theft and serving his three-year prison sentence, according to the Daily Beast. He did not respond to an inquiry Thursday by the outlet.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.