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Court rejects Bryant effort to strike down rape-shield law

Colo. v. Bryant  (FindLaw, PDF)external link
Kobe Bryant
Crime, Law and Justice

(CNN) -- The judge overseeing Kobe Bryant's sexual assault trial on Thursday rejected defense arguments that Colorado's rape-shield law is unconstitutional.

The law, enacted in Colorado in the 1970s, prevents disclosure of an alleged victim's sexual history unless the defense can prove it is relevant to the trial.

Bryant's attorneys argued the statute violates the constitutional right to equal protection, because another law allows a defendant's sexual history to be disclosed in a trial.

According to State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle's ruling, the defense team also argued the rape shield law in and of itself "violates a sexual assault defendant's rights to confrontation, compulsory process, due process and equal protection" guaranteed under the U.S. and Colorado constitutions.

Ruckriegle said the law was enacted to provide victims important protections but still allows sexual history to be admitted when relevant.

He also noted that the prosecution has said it will not explore Bryant's sexual history, making part of the defense's argument moot.

Bryant is charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who worked at a Vail-area resort where the basketball superstar was staying. He has pleaded not guilty.

Bryant, 25, has said he did have sex with the woman June 30 when he stayed in the resort where the woman worked, but said it was consensual.

If convicted, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine of up to $750,000.

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