Accuser's Past Key At Kobe Hearing

KOBE : L.A. Lakers' star Kobe Bryant enters court accompanied by his attorney Pamela Mackey, left, at the Justice Center for a motions hearing Friday Jan. 23, 2004 in Eagle, Colo. Bryant is appearing in Eagle County District Court facing charges of sexual assault. For the first time, the Los Angeles Lakers guard entered through a side door at the Eagle County courthouse. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) 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.

But the main issue of the day will be the one discussed behind closed doors, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker. The defense has called a long list of witnesses, including the young woman's mother and former boyfriend in an attempt to prove she talked so freely to college friends and family about her mental condition, that she gave up any right to medical privacy.

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

There is so much on the court's plate that it's unlikely they'll get to it all during Friday's hearing, and some issues are expected to be held over until the next hearing in early February, Whitaker reports.

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.
  • Lauren Johnston

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