Ruckriegle admonishes attorneys on gag order
EAGLE – A judge has admonished attorneys involved in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case to abide by his gag order nearly two weeks after the accuser’s lawyer denied defense claims she had sex with someone else hours after the alleged attack.
In a one-paragraph order, Eagle County District Judge Terry Ruckriegle said prosecutors, defense attorneys and the woman’s attorney have made statements in news releases, to the media and in open court that may be contrary to his order.
“The court deems it appropriate and necessary to caution counsel and their representatives to abide by the spirit of the order,” Ruckriegle said in a court filing made public Monday.
In a rare public statement on March 2, attorney John Clune who represents Bryant’s accuser said she did not have sex with someone else hours after the alleged attack, hoping to defuse an explosive defense claim.
The woman has told police she had sex with someone two days before the alleged attack. The defense, however, insists she slept with multiple partners that week – including someone less than 15 hours after her encounter with Bryant.
The woman has accused the Los Angeles Lakers star of raping her June 30 at a mountain resort where she worked. Bryant, 25, has said the two had consensual sex. He faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of the felony sexual assault charge.
During a March 24-25 hearing, Bryant’s attorneys will question the 19-year-old woman in detail about her sexual past after the Colorado Supreme Court denied a prosecution appeal last week.
Bryant attorneys had subpoenaed the woman, saying he has a right to confront his accuser. Prosecutors had asked Ruckriegle and the high court to set limits on defense questioning, arguing that the woman’s sexual conduct in the days surrounding her encounter with Bryant is irrelevant.
The defense is expected to ask the woman about previous sexual partners in hopes of backing up their claim that she had a scheme to sleep with Bryant. They also say injuries found on the woman during a hospital exam could have come from other sexual partners in the days surrounding her encounter with Bryant.