Monday, December 15, 2003
Updated: December 16, 9:19 AM ET
Defense pushes for evidence to be thrown out
ESPN.com news services
DENVER -- Kobe Bryant's defense team has filed a barrage of
court motions in his sexual assault case, depicting his accuser as
a troubled, attention-seeking young woman and asking a judge to
throw out much of the evidence against him.
The motions released Monday also asked the judge to disregard
the state's rape shield law, which limits what defense lawyers can
ask about an alleged rape victim.
The defense seeks to bar evidence including a secretly taped
interview of the Los Angeles Lakers star by investigators and a
T-shirt he was wearing the night he allegedly assaulted the
19-year-old concierge at an exclusive resort where he was staying. Investigators say the woman's blood was found on the bottom of the
Bryant is charged with sexual assault. He has said he and the
woman had consensual sex.
Seventeen motions filed by the defense and prosecutors were
released Monday, four days before a hearing Friday. It wasn't
immediately clear whether the judge would consider any of the
motions at Friday's hearing, which Bryant is required to attend.
Another hearing is scheduled Jan. 23.
Bryant's hearing Friday is expected to begin mid-morning and not expected to end until late afternoon local time. The Lakers play host to the Denver Nuggets that night, and it's doubtful that Bryant could make it back to Los Angeles in time to play.
Laker spokesman John Black said Bryant had flu-like symptoms and did not attend Monday's practice. Most of the team is off Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Lakers resuming full-squad workouts Thursday.
The defense asked the judge for permission to introduce as
evidence reports that the woman twice attempted suicide. The
reports were based on her interview with an investigator, the
In that interview, the investigator suggested to the woman she
had a pattern of calling her ex-boyfriend when she "attempts or
thinks about committing suicide," the defense motion said.
The defense said it had submitted evidence under seal that the
woman behaved this way the night of her encounter with Bryant.
To help prove their contention the allegations about Bryant are
false, defense lawyers said they need to demonstrate that the woman
"makes herself a victim through purported suicide attempts in
order to gain the attention of her ex-boyfriend without regard to
the harm and worry that causes to other people."
Prosecutors filed a motion warning the defense that any evidence
that the woman made false reports of sexual assault before the
Bryant encounter would have to be heard in a closed-door hearing.
Defense lawyers also asked permission to present evidence that the
woman was taking a drug to treat schizophrenia. They said they
submitted proof of that claim under seal.
Bryant's lawyers argued that evidence collected during a search
of Bryant's hotel room should be thrown out because investigators
did not tell him they had a warrant.
The defense said the T-shirt should not have been taken because
Bryant was wearing it during the search, and the warrant authorized
officers to take only items from the room, not his person.
Bryant's lawyers also argued the search was invalid because it
was conducted after dark, but the warrant called for it to be done
in daylight .
The warrant was issued on the basis of "reasonable suspicion,"
a less stringent standard than "probable cause," and under
Colorado law could be done only in daylight hours. A probable cause
search can be done any time.
"Cops are allowed to be tricky, but this may have crossed the
line," said Denver defense lawyer Craig Silverman, a former
prosecutor who recalled rushing to beat sundown to execute
Bryant's attorneys argued that the state's rape shield law violates
his due process rights by limiting personal information about the
alleged victim, while evidence of other sexual acts by Bryant is
The rape shield law, which is similar to laws in all 49 other
states, makes defense lawyers prove why an alleged victim's sexual
history is relevant evidence.
The motion will not likely succeed but could give the defense
grounds to appeal if it is rejected and if Bryant is convicted,
legal experts said.
Prosecutors filed a request to measure Bryant's hand, because
the alleged victim told investigators Bryant initially tried to
strangle her with two hands.
Bryant faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on
probation if convicted. No trial date has been set.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.