Defense says past relationships irrelevant

DENVER -- NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant should not be
required to answer questions about his sexual history in a civil
lawsuit against him because it would violate the privacy of his
past sexual partners, his attorneys argue.

Lawyers for the woman accusing Bryant of rape want to interview
the Los Angeles Lakers guard under oath as part of the suit she
filed in August, three weeks before the criminal case was dropped.
The suit seeks unspecified money damages from Bryant for the
alleged emotional injuries the woman has suffered since their
encounter at a hotel near Vail in June 2003.

Bryant has said the sex was consensual.

Bryant's deposition, which would require him to answer questions
from the woman's attorneys, was delayed because both sides cannot
agree on what questions should be allowed.

His attorneys have asked a federal judge to bar any questions
about his sexual history. The woman's attorneys say granting the
request would be special treatment because Bryant's attorneys have
made clear they intend to use the woman's sexual history against
her. Her lawyers also said Bryant's sexual history was plainly
relevant to the case.

In a court filing made available Wednesday, defense attorneys
responded to the woman's arguments by saying that questioning
Bryant about his sexual history could reveal personal information
about people not involved in the case.

"Sexual conduct involves other persons, who have their own,
independent right to keep their sexual conduct from prying eyes,"
the filing said. "Mr. Bryant's consensual sexual partners -- to
whatever extent they exist -- are not parties to this litigation."

The filing also said Bryant's past "consensual sexual
relationships" were irrelevant to the woman's lawsuit.

L. Lin Wood, one of the woman's attorneys, did not immediately
return an after-hours phone message Wednesday. Bryant was in Denver
on Wednesday for a game against the Nuggets.

The lawsuit is pending in federal court in Denver. A trial date
has not been set.

It is the policy of The Associated Press not to publish names of
alleged sexual assault victims without their consent. The woman has
asked that her name not be used.