Judge in Bryant case leans toward releasing sealed documents

Friday, October 15th 2004, 7:40 pm
By: News On 6

EAGLE, Colo. (AP) _ The judge in the now-dismissed rape case against NBA star Kobe Bryant said Friday that nearly 60 sealed court documents will probably be released to the public after his staff redacts sensitive information.

District Judge Terry Ruckriegle did not indicate when the material would be released.

Prosecutors last month dismissed a felony sexual assault charge against Bryant after the woman accusing him of rape said she did not want to participate in a trial.

Bryant, 26, has insisted he had consensual sex with the woman in June 2003 at the Vail-area resort where she was a front desk employee. The woman, now 20, is seeking unspecified damages from the Los Angeles Lakers star in a federal civil lawsuit.

Chris Beall, who represents media outlets including The Associated Press, said the public should have access to 59 court filings and exhibit lists to create a ``balanced record.'' Among the documents are reports relating to Bryant's statements to Eagle County sheriff's investigators.

Last week, prosecutors released more than 600 pages of heavily redacted investigative files. The sheriff's office has released more than 300 pages of material from its investigation.

The woman's attorney, John Clune, said two of Bryant's statements to detectives were withheld last week, along with details about his client's sexual history, mental health history and alleged drug and alcohol use.

Defense attorney Pamela Mackey asked Ruckriegle to release everything related to the case, not just what the media has sought.