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Bryant defense claims accuser is bipolar, requests medical history

Kobe Bryant claims he had consensual sex with his accuser.
Kobe Bryant claims he had consensual sex with his accuser.

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(CNN) -- Defense lawyers for NBA star Kobe Bryant said in a court document filed Tuesday the woman who accuses Bryant of raping her suffers from a bipolar disorder, and that her medical and mental health history is vital to the case.

In a response to a prosecution motion saying the alleged victim's medical and mental health are not relevant to the case, the defense cites various medical and legal cases in its argument to admit the records for a trial.

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depressive illness. It is characterized by movement between extremes, such as euphoria and depression, and can be a serious and disabling mental illness.

The documents say the accuser's medical and mental history may demonstrate her "motive, scheme, plan and modus operandi for falsely accusing Mr. Bryant of sexual assault" and should also be considered as a jury determines her credibility.

Bryant, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel worker in late June in his room at a luxurious resort in Eagle, Colorado.

The Los Angeles Laker guard, who is married and the father of an infant daughter, admits that he had sex with the woman but contends that it was consensual.

"The information must be presented to the jury in this case. To do otherwise 'undermines the central truth-seeking aim of our criminal justice system... because it deliberately distorts the record at the risk of misleading the jury into convicting an innocent person,'" the defense filing said, citing another Colorado court case finding.

In the court documents, defense lawyers claim the facts of the case "strongly suggest the possibility that the accuser was either in a manic state or experiencing rapid cycling of manic and depressive states at the time of the incident with Mr. Bryant."

Such evidence is "crucial" to "support his theory of defense -- that she consented to sexual intercourse with Mr. Bryant. Such evidence would be relevant both to help explain to the jury why this young woman might have engaged in multiple acts of consensual sexual intercourse within the 72 hours preceding her physical examination," the defense documents said.

Bryant's attorneys also said the alleged victim "might be suffering from a delusion -- a false but strongly held belief -- about what occurred in Mr. Bryant's hotel room."

Defense attorneys have said in court documents filed last year that the woman is a troubled, attention-seeking teen who twice tried to commit suicide to elicit sympathy from her ex-boyfriend.

Police took Bryant's accuser to a hospital February 25, 2003 after being called to her dorm room at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. UNC Police Chief Terry Urista said police determined that she could pose a danger to herself.

The next pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for January 23.

The case is not expected to go to trial until spring 2004. If convicted, Bryant could be sentenced to four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

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