Judge Rules Kobe Bryant’s Lawyers Can Use Some Information about Accuser’s Sexual History

The judge in the Kobe Bryant case ruled in that some limited information about his accuser’s sexual history would be admissible at trial.

District Judge Terry Ruckriegle ruled that details about the woman’s sexual activities in the three days before her July 1, 2003 rape examination are relevant to the case and would be admissible. Bryant’s defense team is apparently going to argue that injuries found during that rape exam could have come from other sexual acts the woman engaged in immediately prior to the July 1 exam. They also apparently will argue that it is not credible that the woman was raped by Bryant and then turned around and had sex with at least one and possibly a number of other individuals immediately afterward. There is also some suggestion that the woman’s sexual activities immediately after the alleged rape may contradict what the accuser told police.

A number of experts speculated that the case may yet fall apart with this ruling. Larry Pozner, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, told the Associated Press,

This case is just going to have a massive accumulation of evidence that targets the credibility of the accuser. In most sexual assault cases the complaining witness is the strength of the case. In this one she’s the weakness of the case. This evidence is as damaging a set of facts as a prosecutor could ever have to contend with and one wonders if at long last the accuser will pull the plug on this case.

But as Southwestern University School of Law professor Bob Pugsley noted, the ruling was consistent with Colorado’s rape shield law and would likely survive any appeal by prosecutors,

We’re not talking about remote history, we’re not talking about anyone else other than the alleged victim’s own statements against Kobe and her own behavior, which can be scientifically documented through the DNA samples on the underwear that she wore to her examination.

Sources:

Kobe Accuser’s sex life can be used in trial. Associated Press, July 23, 2004.

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