The preliminary hearing in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault today resumes in Colorado, with a prosecutor arguing tht the sexual history of his accuser should not be publicly aired. Prosecutor Ingrid Bakke charged yesterday that defense attorney Pamela Mackey had consciously misrepresented evidence “in order to smear the victim publicly.” Bakke said that “to allow the defense to address sexual history matters of a victim at preliminary hearing, in open court, which are later deemed inappropriate evidence at trial, would completely abrogate the Rape Shield Statute and its purpose.”
During the first day of the hearing last week, Mackey asked a sheriff’s detective whether the accuser’s injuries were consistent with those of someone who had slept with “three men in three days.”
Lawyers for media organizations are asking the judge to keep the hearing open to the public. Bryant, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old employee of a resort.
Jeralyn Merritt, a Denver lawyer and legal commentator, said the attack on Mackey was out of line: “I’m surprised they attacked Mackey the way they did. They haven’t seen her evidence.”
Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor who specialized in sex assault cases, said she believes Mackey asked a valid question about whether the woman’s injuries might have been caused by the woman having intercourse in the days before the alleged rape. Continued inquiry in open court about the woman’s sexual history might violate the Rape Shield Law because it might be deemed irrelevant and never see the light of day during any trial, Steinhauser said.