Kobe And Accuser To Meet In Court

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant enters the Justice Center in Eagle, Colo, in this Oct. 9, 2003 file photo. Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett announced Monday, Oct. 20, 2003 that Kobe Bryant would be ordered to stand trial for sexual assault.
AP
Lawyers for Kobe Bryant are ready to target the Colorado's 30-year-old rape-shield law in their hope to bolster the NBA star's defense.

For the first time since their June encounter, Bryant and his 19-year-old accuser were expected to be in the same room together for a closed, two-day pretrial hearing Monday.

The woman will be questioned Tuesday about her sexual history, which the defense says is relevant to show that her vaginal injuries were caused by somebody other than Bryant, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Frank. Prosecutors have argued that the information is irrelevant.

One of the issues during the hearing Monday was to be Colorado's rape law, which is similar to laws in all 49 other states. It makes defense lawyers prove why an alleged victim's sexual history is relevant evidence.

Defense attorneys Pamela Mackey and Hal Haddon have argued the law — which generally prevents defense attorneys from using the sexual history of alleged sexual assault victims against them in court — is unconstitutional.

If they cannot convince the judge on that issue, they will have to show that the information should be allowed under a portion of the law that makes exceptions for such evidence.

Bryant, 25, has said he had consensual sex with the 19-year-old woman. He faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted. He is free on $25,000 bond.

In attacking the rape-shield law, Haddon and Mackey have argued that it violates a defendant's right of equal protection. They said that under state law, prior sexual conduct of an alleged sexual assault victim is presumed irrelevant, while the prior sexual conduct of a defendant is presumed relevant.

Legal experts are doubtful that Bryant's attorneys will succeed on the constitutional issue because the rape-shield law has withstood previous challenges in its 30-year history.

Also during the hearing, attorneys were scheduled to resume arguments on whether the woman has given up her right to confidentiality of her medical history by talking about it with others.

The attorneys were also set to debate whether certain evidence against Bryant, including his statement to police, should be thrown out because of the methods police used during the investigation.

The judge was expected to ask both sides to discuss a dispute over his Feb. 2 order that prosecutors give evidence to the defense's forensic expert for testing. The defense claims that prosecutors have told Colorado Bureau of Investigation officials not to turn over cuttings from two pairs of underwear the woman wore the night of the alleged attack and the next day when she went to a hospital for the examination.

No trial date has been set. Another two-day hearing is scheduled to begin March 24.