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Key Hearing For Kobe Defense

If Kobe Bryant's defense attorneys get their way, people close to the basketball star's accuser could be forced to testify about what the 19-year-old woman has said regarding her medical condition and prescription drugs.

The question of whether the woman has told others about such details is the primary reason for a hearing Friday in which defense attorneys Pamela Mackey and Hal Haddon hope to convince a judge that her medical records can be used as evidence in Bryant's sexual assault trial.

The Bryant defense team is trying to attack the credibility of Bryant's alleged victim, hoping her medical records will show a "pattern of attention-seeking conduct," reports CBS News correspondent Lee Frank. The 19-year-old woman reportedly was treated for pill overdoses which Bryant's attorneys say were suicide attempts intended to get attention from a boyfriend.

The accuser's mother and a friend have been subpoenaed to testify at Friday's hearing.

The Los Angeles Lakers star's defense team also will try to show mental problems might have affected her perception of what happened in a hotel room with Bryant on June 30. The woman says she was raped; Bryant has maintained that they had consensual sex.

"The defense is going to really go after the alleged victim in this case -- they want jurors believing that she was a troubled young woman desperately seeking attention," CBSNews.com legal analyst Andrew Cohen said. "Prosecutors want jurors -- and for now the judge -- focusing on the events of last June 30th, when they say Bryant raped the woman in a hotel room."

Under state law and a 2002 state Supreme Court decision, Bryant's lawyers would have to prove that she told people about her medical history and that the information is relevant to the case.

In Colorado, a patient's medical records cannot even be reviewed by a judge in private unless the patient consents or otherwise gives up privacy rights. In the Bryant case, the woman has not told her doctors they can release the records.

But Mackey and Haddon have indicated in court filings that during Friday's hearing, they will argue that the woman has waived her privacy because she told a police officer and others about her medical condition.

Bryant, 25, is free on $25,000 bond. He faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of felony sexual assault. Bryant will be at the hearing. The Lakers play at home Friday night.

An attorney for the woman has asked state District Judge Terry Ruckriegle to close the courtroom for any testimony regarding her medical history. The judge has not ruled on the request.

Analysts said the defense needs to do everything it can to undermine the woman's credibility at trial.

"The prosecution is desperate to say in closing, `Why would this woman make it up?' All the defense is doing is saying, `Judge, don't tie our hands behind our back, we want to give an answer,"' said Denver attorney Larry Pozner, former president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

Among the records the defense wants to use are documents from the North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, where authorities brought the 19-year-old woman in February after determining she was a "danger to herself."

Defense lawyers have argued in court filings that she was a troubled woman who tried to kill herself in February and again in May, and accused Bryant of rape to get her ex-boyfriend's attention. They also say she had been prescribed an anti-psychotic drug.

The defense also wants access to notes taken during an interview of the woman by a worker for a rape victim's advocacy group.

On Thursday, the judge granted the defense's request for a hearing on whether those records can be released to the defense. He did not set a date for the hearing and it was unclear whether arguments would be heard Friday.

The hearing is expected to last all day and dozens of reporters and TV crews have again arrived in this small town 30 miles from the Vail ski resort. There is no indication when the judge will rule.

A Jan. 23 hearing has been scheduled to hear arguments about other issues in the case, including a defense request to throw out statements Bryant made to investigators that were secretly taped before he had been read his Miranda rights.

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