Kobe Accuser Testimony Postponed

L.A. Lakers' star Kobe Bryant arrives at the Justice Center Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003 in Eagle, Colo., Bryant is in court for a continuation of the preliminary hearing in his sexual assault case.
AP
The judge in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case has decided to reconsider whether he will allow defense attorneys to ask the alleged victim detailed questions about her sexual past.

The woman had been scheduled to testify Tuesday. Judge Terry Ruckriegle late Monday postponed that appearance until a March 24-25 hearing so he could reconsider the prosecution's request that he limit the questions defense attorneys could ask.

Ruckriegle initially ruled Monday that prosecutors made that request too late. He agreed to review his ruling after a closed-door meeting with attorneys, state courts spokeswoman Karen Salaz said.

Without the woman's testimony, Tuesday's hearing was expected to focus on whether Bryant was illegally questioned by investigators on July 1 after the 19-year-old accused him of raping her at a Vail-area resort.

Bryant, 25, has said the two had consensual sex. The Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of the felony sexual assault charge.

The subpoena of Bryant's accuser prompted complaints from the prosecution and victims' advocates that the defense was trying to embarrass and humiliate her. They argued that her sexual conduct in the days surrounding her encounter with Bryant is irrelevant, and that the defense has based its arguments on rumor and innuendo.

Bryant's attorneys said he has a right to confront his accuser.

Prosecutors want Ruckriegle to limit the defense questions to two issues: the source of injuries discovered during the woman's rape exam and the source of semen found in the underwear she wore to the exam.

Bryant's lawyers said Monday that his accuser had sex with someone else less than 15 hours after her alleged assault by the NBA star.

The accusation was made in a court filing in which the defense argued that the woman's sex life should be admissible at Bryant's trial, despite Colorado's rape-shield law.

The defense said the woman had "multiple acts of sex" in the three days before her June 30 encounter with Bryant.

The defense also says two prosecution witnesses had engaged in sex with the woman, and that could affect their credibility, reports CBS News Correspondent Jennifer Miller.

And they say it shows a pattern, with respect to whether the alleged victim consented to have sex with Bryant, reports Miller.

At the heart of the defense attack is a contention that the 19-year-old accuser had a "plan" to have sex with Bryant to attract attention from an ex-boyfriend. Bryant's attorneys say injuries found on the woman could have been caused by sex with someone other than the Los Angeles Lakers guard.

Prosecutors have urged the judge to bar any evidence about the woman's sexual past, saying it is not relevant to whether she was raped.

The sexual activity of an alleged victim is presumed to be irrelevant under Colorado's rape-shield law. To present that information to a jury, defense attorneys have to prove to a judge it is relevant.

In another development from Monday's hearing, Ruckriegle ordered prosecutors to turn over two pairs of his accuser's underwear, a move defense attorneys say will help them exonerate the NBA star.

The defense repeatedly said the underwear is exculpatory evidence that will prove their claim that the woman had sex with other men before or perhaps after her encounter with Bryant.

Ruckriegle said the underwear — worn by the accuser the night of the alleged attack and the next day when she went to a hospital for an examination — must be turned over to the defense within 24 hours.

After listening to prosecution arguments against turning over the underwear, Ruckriegle rolled his eyes, then issued his order, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Frank.

"The court finds the prosecution's refusal to turn over the evidence to be without merit," the judge said.

The prosecution turned over all other physical evidence by Saturday's deadline. Defense attorney Hal Haddon said in court Monday the material includes three samples of semen that don't match Bryant. Prosecutor Mark Hurlbert objected at that point, and the conversation ceased.