In a comment to a post labeled Rich Rapist Goes Free Uncivil Litigator posits that " if [Kobe] believed in his innocence, he would allow a jury to review the case against him and acquit him."
I'm cannot say that I'm of a like mind. The scenario seems to have been that Kobe's Defense team was getting a solid upper hand on the prosecution. The prosecution offers to move for a dismissal, with prejudice, if Kobe apologizes. He is not required to actually admit anything; in fact, he can state "I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual." As well, the complaining witness agrees that nothing in the statement can be used in a civil suit.
On the one hand this is a guaranty that there will be no conviction and no prison time.
On the other hand, let's assume that there is an 80% probability of victory at trial, or even better a 90% probability of a not guilty finding. That means there is a 10% chance that your client could be convicted of a major felony (sexual assault). As best I can tell that means he would face a presumptive range of 8-16 years. That's a 10% chance that his career will be destroyed. A 10% chance that his life will be ruined.
This choice is a no brainer.
Uncivil Litigator characterizes a recommendation that a client accept this as telling a client to lie in order to make a plea agreement. I don't see it that way. I don't read anything in the statement which is a lie. Do I believe that the statement was heartfelt? No. Were points finessed? Yes. Did the statement bury Kobe as far as the civil case? Most definitely. Would I have recommended the deal? In a hot second.
When you are dealing with your client's life you must be pragmatic. Of course, you don't break the law, perpetrate a fraud on the court, or act in contradiction of legal ethics. Outside of that, if the prosecution comes to you and tells you that it will guaranty your client will not be prosecuted if . . . you are pretty much obligated take that deal to your client. It's not the time to be overly idealistic.
Here's a good summation of the case.
Public Defender Dude registers his complete lack of surprise at the outcome and his reasons for the lack of shock.