Archive for Saturday, August 14, 2004

Bryant prosecutors denied delay

Judge rules trial will begin as scheduled on Aug. 27

August 14, 2004

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— The judge in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case denied a request from prosecutors for an indefinite delay in the trial late Friday, saying there was no justification for a postponement.

District Judge Terry Ruckriegle also denied defense requests to admit evidence about the alleged victim's two purported suicide attempts in the five months before her encounter with Bryant and about her use of any prescription medications.

He also granted prosecution requests to limit testimony about the woman's medical and mental health history and any drug and alcohol use.

The rulings came amid intense speculation about whether prosecutors intended to drop the case after a series of setbacks that prompted them to seek a delay in the trial, scheduled to begin with jury selection on Aug. 27.

Among them was the release of a transcript of a closed-door hearing -- which prosecutors called "extremely harmful" -- in which a defense witness explained why she believed the woman had sex with another man within 15 hours after her encounter with Bryant.

Attorneys for the accuser this week filed a civil lawsuit against Bryant in federal court. Defense attorney Pamela Mackey said in a filing made public Friday that the lawsuit showed the woman was pursuing a false allegation in "the hope of a large monetary award."

Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to comment on either of Friday's rulings, citing a sweeping gag order. She did say prosecutors still plan to go to trial as scheduled.

"Nothing has changed," she said.

Ruckriegle did not provide details about the defense arguments to use information about the woman's health because testimony was taken behind closed doors.

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