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Judge postpones questions about Bryant accuser's past

By Associated Press
Published March 2, 2004

EAGLE, Colo. - The judge in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case decided late Monday to reconsider whether to allow defense attorneys to ask the alleged victim detailed questions about her sexual past.

Bryant's accuser had been scheduled to testify today - her first appearance in court. But that has been postponed until a March 24-25 hearing, state courts spokeswoman Karen Salaz said.

Bryant attorneys had subpoenaed the woman, saying the NBA star has a right to confront his accuser. The move prompted complaints from the prosecution and sexual assault 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.

State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle initially ruled Monday that prosecutors were too late in asking him to limit questions defense attorneys could ask the woman. During a later closed-door meeting, he agreed to reconsider, Salaz said.

More discussion is expected today on a defense motion contending that Bryant was illegally questioned by investigators on July 1 at the Vail-area resort where he stayed.

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 woman has told police she had sex with someone two days before the alleged attack, while the defense has said she slept with "multiple" partners that week - including someone less than 15 hours after her encounter with Bryant.

Prosecutors said the defense has based its arguments on rumor and innuendo.

The prosecution lost one battle Monday when the judge ordered them to give the defense cuttings from two pairs of underwear worn by the accuser.

[Last modified March 2, 2004, 01:44:59]

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