Information crucial to Bryant defense to be discussed in secret

Friday, January 23rd 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EAGLE, Colo. (AP) _ Key evidence for basketball superstar Kobe Bryant's defense against sexual assault allegations _ the medical history of his accuser _ may never be known to the public.

Evidence and testimony expected to be presented at a hearing Friday about whether the 19-year-old woman has given up her right to medical-record privacy will be hashed out behind closed doors.

State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle earlier this week ruled that the evidence was too sensitive and potentially humiliating to allow the public and the media to sit in the courtroom.

Other parts of the hearing, dealing with less-central issues like T-shirts mocking the Los Angeles Lakers guard and DNA testing, will be open to the public.

To present the alleged victim's medical history during trial, Bryant's attorneys will have to prove that she told others about her condition.

Witnesses including the woman's mother, a former boyfriend and former college roommates were expected to testify Friday afternoon about what she told them, Ruckriegle said.

Attorneys are expected to argue during a Feb. 2-3 hearing about the defense's contention that the woman's medical history is relevant.

Bryant, 25, faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of felony sexual assault. He has said he had consensual sex with the 19-year-old employee of a mountain resort where he stayed June 30.

Bryant's attorneys, hoping to undermine her credibility, have suggested she took anti-psychotic medication and tried to commit suicide in the months before her June 30 encounter with Bryant. They have also suggested she had a ``scheme'' to falsely accuse Bryant.