Originally created 05/11/04

Accuser testifies at Kobe Bryant hearing for second time

EAGLE, Colo. -- The 19-year-old woman accusing NBA star Kobe Bryant of rape slipped into the courthouse through a fire exit Monday to testify for the second time since the case began.

Pretrial hearings were closed all day, so it was impossible to determine why she was called in. The woman's attorney was with her.

The woman was questioned for more than three hours during a March 24 hearing. Bryant's attorneys want details of her sex life - especially in the three days surrounding her June 30 encounter with Bryant - admitted as evidence to suggest she was injured by someone else.

Prosecutors probably wanted the woman back in the courtroom to rebut testimony from other witnesses, said Lisa Wayne, a Denver defense attorney who has tried numerous sexual assault cases.

"It would have to be something crucial," she said. "I'm assuming the prosecution had some very hard evidence on certain issues the defense has put forth."

The hearing on the relevance of the sexual history has been going on for days. It resumed Monday, along with arguments on a separate defense motion to introduce evidence about the woman's mental health, two purported suicide attempts last spring and any evidence about alcohol or drug use.

Bryant has said he had consensual sex with the woman last summer at the Vail-area resort where she worked. If convicted of felony sexual assault, the Los Angeles Lakers star would face four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

Bryant's lawyers say injuries to the woman could have come from other sexual partners in the days before her encounter with Bryant, and that evidence from underwear the woman wore to a hospital examination did not match Bryant.

Her attorney has denied she had sex with anyone after Bryant and before she reported the encounter to police.

Prosecutors say her sex life is irrelevant in determining whether she was raped.

Colorado's rape-shield law generally bars defense attorneys from using an alleged victim's sex life as evidence, but there are exceptions.

Bryant will formally enter a plea during this week's three-day hearing. A trial must be set within six months of a plea, though Bryant can waive that right.

The Lakers are in the middle of a playoff series with San Antonio. Bryant is expected to fly to Los Angeles for a Tuesday night game, then return to Eagle for the final day of the hearing.

Associated Press Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.


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