Eagle, Colo. Kobe Bryant must stand trial on a charge of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old resort worker, a judge ruled Monday.
Eagle County judge Frederick Gannett said prosecutors presented enough evidence Bryant might have committed the crime June 30. The Los Angeles Lakers guard could face a life sentence if convicted.
His next appearance, in district court, is set for Nov. 10.
Bryant has said the sex was consensual. His attorneys suggested the woman's injuries came during sex with other men in the days before her encounter with Bryant at a posh resort in nearby Edwards.
The defense can appeal Gannett's ruling, but such appeals are rare, legal experts said.
Bryant practiced with the Los Angeles Lakers at their El Segundo, Calif., facility Monday, and it wrapped up about two hours before the judge issued his ruling.
At Bryant's first appearance in district court, he will be advised of his rights, of the charge and of the possible penalties. He could enter a plea during that hearing. Unless Bryant waives his right to a speedy trial, the trial would be scheduled within six months of his plea.