posted on Mar, 24 2004 @ 07:21 PM
Kobe Bryant's accuser testified about her sex life for more than three hours Wednesday during a closed-door hearing that will determine whether any of
the information can be introduced at the NBA star's rape trial.
The 19-year-old woman sat in a courtroom just a few feet from Bryant, the first time they had faced each other since their encounter last summer.
Experts said she was probably questioned about the most intimate details of her life.
"The hard questions will make her quite sober as to what she's got to face and maybe put it in her mind what will happen at trial," said
Southwestern University School of Law professor Robert Pugsley.
The tall blonde slipped into the courthouse through a fire exit as her parents entered through another door. Appearing calm and composed, she ignored
a throng of reporters and photographers as she walked into the courtroom. She was finished by lunch, though it was unclear whether she will have to
return for more testimony.
The next witness was Mandy Ross, a former roommate of the woman at the University of Northern Colorado. Also in the courthouse was Robert Pietrack, a
high school classmate of the woman who worked as a bellhop at the resort where the alleged attack took place. He is believed to be the first person
she spoke to after the incident.
Bryant, 25, faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of felony sexual assault. The Los Angeles Lakers guard
has said he had consensual sex last June with the woman at the Vail-area resort.
The defense says the woman had multiple sexual partners the week of the alleged assault and that semen from someone other than Bryant was found in her
underwear during a hospital exam.
The defense says her sexual history should be admitted because it could show her injuries were caused by another sexual partner and that she had a
"scheme" to have sex with Bryant and others, possibly to gain the attention of an ex-boyfriend.
The prosecution fought to limit defense questioning, but was rebuffed by state District Judge Terry Ruckriegle and the Colorado Supreme Court.
Former prosecutor Craig Silverman, who has been following the case, said the hearing was an "audition" for the trial during which both sides can learn
about each other and about the woman's behavior as a witness.
"I imagine they [Bryant's attorneys] will be soft and easy at the start to gather as much as possible and wait until the end to become belligerent
to see how she reacts," Silverman said.
Colorado's rape-shield law, like others around the country, generally bars defense attorneys from bringing up information about an alleged victim's
sex life. Judges, however, can hear such testimony in private to determine whether the information is relevant and admissible as evidence.
Pugsley said defense attorneys will probably try to intimidate prosecutor Mark Hurlbert into dropping the case by showing him what they know about the
woman. Hurlbert, who declined comment Wednesday, has said he is confident he has enough evidence for a conviction.
Another closed-door hearing resumes Thursday on a request by Bryant's lawyers to throw out evidence including the NBA star's recorded statements to
investigators and a T-shirt stained with the accuser's blood.