Bryant seeks to prevent references to ‘victim’
Kobe Bryant’s accuser should be referred to in court by her name or as “the complaining witness,” because calling her “the victim” implies the NBA star is guilty of sexual assault, his lawyers said.
In a court filing released Tuesday, attorney Hal Haddon asked District Judge Terry Ruckriegle to order prosecutors and witnesses not call the woman “the victim” in court. Haddon said that was the only way to protect the constitutional presumption that Bryant is innocent unless proved guilty.
Ruckriegle gave prosecutors five days to respond.
State sexual assault law uses “victim” to describe a person who was allegedly attacked, but Haddon said that does not require judges or prosecutors to use the term.
“In a sexual assault case where the defendant asserts consent, the core dispute is whether a crime occurred at all, and therefore whether the complaining witness is a ‘victim’ or not,” he said.
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Bryant, 25, has said he had consensual sex with the woman at the Vail-area resort where she worked.
He faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of felony sexual assault.