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Judge deals blow to Bryant defense

Accuser's medical, psychological records ruled inadmissible

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The judge in the Kobe Bryant case ruled that the medical and psychological history of Bryant's accuser will not be admissible. CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin analyzes the impact of the ruling (April 21)
Order granting motions to quash  Colorado v. Bryant  (FindLaw, PDF)external link
Kobe Bryant
Sex Crimes

EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- The judge in the Kobe Bryant case ruled Wednesday that the medical and psychological history of the woman who accused the basketball star of rape will not be admissible at trial.

Bryant, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, was charged with felony sexual assault after the woman told authorities he attacked her last June 30 at a resort near Eagle where she worked.

The 25-year-old Bryant, who is married and has a daughter, said the sex was consensual.

If convicted of felony sexual assault, Bryant faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation. No trial date has been set.

Bryant's attorneys had argued that the 19-year-old woman tried to kill herself twice in the months before the alleged rape and that that information was relevant to her credibility.

The incidents occurred in February and May 2003, according to the request to waive physician-patient privilege.

District Judge Terry Ruckriegel said that although the woman discussed her visits to hospitals with her mother and friends, she did not discuss the nature of her medical treatments, and therefore the privilege of confidentiality remained in place.

Three days of closed pretrial hearings are scheduled to start Monday to determine whether the woman's sexual history can be used at trial. Her sexual past already has been discussed in previous closed hearings.

Colorado's rape shield law usually protects alleged rape victims from having to reveal their sexual history.

But Ruckriegel decided in March to allow the pretrial questioning in closed sessions. The Colorado Supreme Court refused the prosecutor's request to limit defense questioning.

Bryant's attorneys indicated in court documents that they planned to introduce evidence about the woman's alleged sexual activity to cast doubt on her credibility shortly after she accused Bryant of raping her.

The defense also said it has evidence she had sex with two prosecution witnesses. Bryant's attorneys have suggested that another sexual partner caused the woman's injuries.

But the woman's attorney, John Clune, said the claims that she had sex within 15 hours after the alleged assault were "patently false."

Bryant's attorneys contend the woman is mentally unstable and fabricated the charge against him.

The prosecution has contended the questioning of the alleged victim's sexual history has been intended by Bryant's attorneys to intimidate the woman.

In March the alleged victim's mother sent a letter to the judge asking him to set a trial date quickly so her daughter could begin to get on with her life.

Her mother said the woman's life was in jeopardy and she has been forced to move from state to state to outrun the media and defense investigators.

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