Tuesday , Jun , 22 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Late August trial date likely in Kobe Bryant case

Eagle, CO (Sports Network) – A two-day pretrial hearing in the Kobe Bryant
sexual assault case will resume on Tuesday with both sides keying in on an
August trial date.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard is accused of sexually assaulting a woman nearly
a year ago at a Colorado resort, a Class 3 felony with penalties ranging from
four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

Bryant, who was in Colorado for surgery on his right knee at the time of the
alleged assault, claimed the two had consensual sex.

On Monday, both sides in the case clashed over how the potential jurors will
be instructed. One of the major obstacles is the issue of consent.

The defense team wants the jurors told that they can only convict the 25-year-
old Bryant if prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged
victim did not consent to sex, and that Bryant knew it.

Prosecutors countered by saying that they are only required to prove that
Bryant’s actions were enough to make the woman succumb to sex against her
will, thus making the question of consent irrelevant.

State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle has yet to rule on the jury
instructions. However, he did turn down a request by Bryant’s attorneys to
order the jury that it could assume certain items not taken from Bryant’s
hotel room by sheriff’s deputies could have proven his innocence.

Defense attorney Hal Haddon stated that investigators should have kept as
evidence the chair, carpet samples, and tissues and towels the woman used in
the hotel.

Ruckriegle said state law permits such a jury instruction only if there is
proof investigators intended to destroy evidence they knew could be
exculpatory. He said the defense team can address the crime scene
investigation at the time of the trial.

Both sides also said Monday they could be ready for a trial as early as the
end of August.

Tuesday’s hearing is expected to include testimony by witnesses and arguments
over a defense motion to have the woman’s sexual activity in the days
surrounding her meeting with Bryant admitted as evidence.