Citing illness, Kobe Bryant didn't show up Monday for a hearing expected to play a key role in determining whether his statement to authorities will be admitted at his sexual assault trial.
"Kobe's sick," defense attorney Pamela Mackey told the judge, who agreed to begin the two-day hearing without Bryant.
Court administrator Chris Yuhas said Bryant waived his right to be at the hearing. She said the Los Angeles Lakers star was in the area, but she wouldn't be more specific. He is recovering from a severe cut on his finger suffered when he put his hand through glass in his garage last week.
The hearing began behind closed doors, with attorneys arguing over whether the medical history of the 19-year-old accuser can be used against her. The defense has suggested that she twice attempted suicide and was taking antidepressants in the months before the incident with Bryant at the resort where she worked.
The defense is fighting for access to the accuser's mental health treatment records, saying she gave up medical privacy rights by widely discussing her problems before she met Bryant, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Frank.
Court officials confirmed medical privacy issues were being discussed at the hearing, but declined to release details.
Defense attorney Hal Haddon has argued in court filings that Bryant's statements recorded the night after the alleged attack June 30 cannot be used during the trial. He also wants the judge to prohibit prosecutors from using physical evidence obtained during and after the interview at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera near Vail.
That physical evidence includes clothes Bryant wore the night of the alleged attack and samples taken during his hospital examination following the interview.
Much of the hearing will be closed to the public. State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle ruled last week that any testimony or evidence about Bryant's statements will be heard in private because the statements could influence potential jurors and may not even be allowed at trial.
However, arguments about whether the statements, which have not been publicly released, and physical evidence were obtained legally will remain open to the public.
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 woman.
Officers were well within their rights to use a hidden tape recorder, said attorney David Lugert, a former prosecutor. The real fight, he said, will be whether the judge believes Bryant made his statements voluntarily, meaning officers did not use coercion or inducement.
Another key decision the judge has to make is whether Bryant felt free to leave at the time of the questioning.
A decision for the defense could either prohibit prosecutors from using Bryant's statements and the physical evidence at trial, or restrict their use of it, Lugert said.
Haddon said in court filings that Bryant was kept a virtual prisoner in his hotel room for part of the July 2 interview because officers were confrontational and sat between him and the door.
Eagle County Sheriff Joseph Hoy has defended his detectives' actions, and spokeswoman Krista Flannigan has said prosecutors have no concerns about how the investigation was handled.
Separately, the judge has decided that portions of the hearing involving testimony from plainclothes law enforcement officers will be public. But under an agreement among attorneys for the two sides and media organizations including The Associated Press, undercover officers will testify behind a privacy screen. Their names will not be used.