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Bryant's accuser had consensual sex prior
Updated: 2004-03-01 14:15

The woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape told police she had consensual sex with someone else two days earlier, but whether jurors will be allowed to hear that is part of the extensive agenda for a hearing that starts Monday.

Before such information can be presented to the jury at Bryant's assault trial, the state's rape-shield law requires that Bryant's attorneys prove to the judge in a closed-door hearing that the woman's prior sexual information is relevant.

The woman is scheduled to testify Tuesday. She and Bryant will be in court together for the first time since the Los Angeles Lakers guard was arrested in July.

In court filings, defense attorneys Hal Haddon and Pamela Mackey have argued that the woman's sexual conduct is relevant because it could show injuries found in a rape examination the day after the alleged attack could have been caused by someone else.

Prosecutors maintain that the information is irrelevant and want the judge to prohibit it from being introduced at trial.

Prosecutors also want the judge to limit the defense questioning of the woman on Tuesday.

"It is a humiliating fishing expedition which the prosecution seeks to prevent," prosecutor Dana Easter wrote in a filing on Friday. "She has revealed all possible relevant information and no further inquiry of her will lead to admissible evidence."

Attorneys also are scheduled to resume arguments during this week's hearing on whether the woman gave up her right to confidentiality of her medical history because she talked about it with others, and on whether certain evidence against Bryant, including his statement to police, should be thrown out because of the methods police used during the investigation.

Before the woman testifies, arguments are expected Monday on the defense's challenge of the constitutionality of the rape shield law.

Haddon and Mackey say the law violates a defendant's constitutional right to equal protection. Under state law, they argue, prior sexual conduct of an alleged sexual assault victim is presumed to be irrelevant while the defendant's prior sexual conduct is presumed to be relevant.

Legal experts doubt that Bryant's attorneys will succeed because the 30-year-old rape-shield law has withstood previous challenges.

Bryant, 25, has said he had consensual sex with the 19-year-old woman. If convicted, he faces four years to life in prison, or 20 years to life on probation. No trial date has been set. He is free on $25,000 bail.

Denver attorney Scott Robinson, who has been following the case, said defense attorneys rarely meet the high legal standards necessary to introduce evidence about an alleged victim's sexual conduct.

"She's certainly going to have to bare some personal parts of her life," he said. "That doesn't necessarily mean the defense is doing anything wrong in a moral sense. They're doing a great job. They've been on a full court press since the case started and they haven't let up yet."

The judge likely will ask both sides to discuss a dispute over his Feb. 2 order that prosecutors give evidence to the defense's forensic expert for testing.

The defense claims prosecutors told the Colorado Bureau of Investigation not to turn over cuttings from two pairs of underwear the woman wore the night of the alleged attack and the next day when she went to a hospital for the examination.

Another two-day hearing is scheduled to begin March 24.

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