Rape shield ruling at least a month away
A decision about whether the jury will hear about Kobe Bryant’s alleged victim’s sexual activity isn’t likely for a month and a half.
Closed-door hearings continued Monday as District Judge Terry Ruckriegle heard more testimony about the two major issues still hanging over the case:
n Whether physical evidence collected in the case should be allowed at trial.
n What, if any, of Bryant’s alleged victim’s sexual activity is relevant and should be heard by the jury.
At least one rape shield witness, Jean McAllister, won’t testify this week at all. McAllister is part of the nine-person panel looking into the University of Colorado sex scandal and is tied up with that case.
“On the rape shield issue, the court likely won’t hear final arguments until June 21,” said David Lugert, a local defense attorney and former state and federal prosecutor. “They’re still taking testimony on rape shield and suppression, including the tape-recorded statements Mr. Bryant gave investigators the night of July 2 when he was being interviewed by sheriff’s investigators.”
Monday’s closed hearing were dominated by attorneys and expert witnesses examining that tape recording.
Bryant’s defense attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Harold Haddon, called audio expert Rich Sanders to the stand for the third time. Sanders, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, has been an expert witness helping decipher audio tapes in the Oklahoma City bombing case, the Columbine High School shootings, and the Jonbenet Ramsey case.
Prosecutors summoned their own expert witness to testify Monday about that tape recording.
That tape recording is part of the physical evidence Bryant’s attorneys want thrown out. Physical evidence in the prosecution’s case against Bryant also includes a T-shirt stained with the woman’s blood Bryant was still wearing the next night, and a rape kit performed on Bryant after the alleged assault.
The defense contends that evidence was improperly gathered because Bryant was not advised of his Miranda rights. Prosecutors counter that Bryant was not under arrest, was free to leave, cooperated voluntarily, and therefore did not need to be advised of his rights.
Bryant’s case has been working its way through the justice system since June 30, 2003, the night he allegedly raped a 19-year-old Eagle woman in Room 35 at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera. Bryant, who has said he and woman had consensual sex, would face four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if he is convicted of felony sexual assault.
AT A GLANCE
Coming up this week
– Bryant will be arraigned, possibly today, on the charge against him ” felony sexual assault. If convicted, he faces sentences of between four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation. Once he enters a plea, Colorado’s speedy trial requires that in six months a jury be seated and his trial begins. Bryant’s trial could begin as soon as August.
– Ruckriegle must also hear and deal with 10 to 12 more motions.
Foremost among them is a prosecution protest about defense plans to call crime scene analysts from the O.J. Simpson murder trial to discuss whether Eagle County sheriff’s investigators properly examined the crime scene.
“Prosecutors are right on point,” said Lugert. “It’s out of bounds to bring in pre-paid, independent former cops to talk about how things might be done differently somewhere else.
“It does nothing but take us farther away from the truth of what happened that night, and I hope the court does not permit it.”