Bryant Defense Loses Ruling; Hearing In Doubt

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A Colorado judge ruled against Kobe Bryant’s defense team on three key issues yesterday. The Rocky Mountain News says that as a result, next week’s scheduled preliminary hearing may be waived by the defense or delayed by an appeal.

Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett said the preliminary hearing will be open to the public. He ordered that Bryant’s 19-year-old alleged victim cannot be subpoenaed to appear, and that he will let a higher court decide whether records of her treatment at a hospital should be shared with the defense.

The ruling came one day before Bryant, 25, was scheduled to make his first appearance at the Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp in Honolulu. The Lakers said he would be late in arriving because of illness.

Krista Flannigan, spokeswoman for Eagle District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, said she hoped that the ruling would “minimize the trauma that the victim will experience through this process.”

“Given the court’s rulings and where this puts the defense, I would not be surprised if they determine it’s in the best interests of their client to waive” the hearing, said defense attorney Harvey Steinberg, who is not involved in the case.

Gannett will meet in chambers with lawyers from both sides 45 minutes before the scheduled 1 p.m. Thursday hearing, to discuss the specific content of the testimony and photographs. That will give defense lawyers one final opportunity to challenge the admissibility of that evidence and make any last-minute arguments in favor of closing the hearing after all.


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