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Lawyers: Bryant accuser is troubled

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant

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Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers

(CNN) -- Kobe Bryant's attorneys say the woman who accuses the basketball superstar of raping her is a troubled, attention-seeking teen who twice tried to commit suicide to elicit sympathy from her ex-boyfriend.

The defense says the woman's behavior is extremely relevant to the case and should be admissible in trial because it shows "the accuser's motive, scheme, plan and modus operandi for falsely accusing Mr. Bryant."

"Proof that the accuser 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 it causes to other people is essential to the defense's theory that the accuser made false allegations in this case," the attorneys say in a motion filed Friday but released Monday.

The court filing goes on to say circumstances surrounding the accuser's two purported suicide attempts -- on February 23 and May 30 of this year -- is "strikingly similar to what happened after the accuser had sexual intercourse with Mr. Bryant."

Bryant, 25, is charged with sexually assaulting the 19-year-old hotel worker in late June in his hotel room at the luxurious Eagle, Colorado, resort.

Bryant acknowledges having sex with the woman but contends it was consensual.

The case is not expected to go to trial until spring 2004. If convicted, Bryant faces a possible sentence of four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

A judge is scheduled to consider motions filed by both sides at a December 19 hearing.

Eagle County prosecutor Mark Hurlbert says in court filings that "medical and mental health information and related details are not relevant." He asks the judge to determine "what information, if any, the court finds relevant."

He said he expects the trial to last two to three weeks, including testimony from 35 to 50 witnesses.

The prosecution also asks for a measurement of Bryant's hand span, accusing the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star of trying to strangle the woman and forcing her "to bend over a chair."

"The defendant was behind the victim and held her in position with one hand around her throat," the prosecution says.

The prosecution documents say that after Bryant made an obscene statement, he "tightened his hold on her neck. She said at times he was 'squeezing pretty tight.' She described his hands as big, 'bigger than usual.' "

The documents go on to say, "She further stated that the defendant's one hand 'could almost circle my whole neck.' "

In its filings, the defense says it believes the medical records and purported suicide attempts of the woman should be admissible because "they reflect on the accuser's credibility as a witness."

"The purported suicide attempts are extreme attention-seeking behavior that illustrate the accuser's ulterior motives," the defense says.

The defense also says the accuser had recently taken an anti-psychotic medication approved by the Federal Drug Administration for treating schizophrenia.

Because of that, the defense says, the woman "may have a reduced ability to correctly and accurately perceive and relate events."

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