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Judge Receives 2 Requests

November 20, 2003|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

Both sides in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case made written requests to the judge Wednesday as attorneys began building toward key hearings scheduled in the next two months.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Ingrid Bakke asked Judge Terry Ruckriegle to keep from public view any motions that address evidence, contending that such details could taint potential jurors.

"It is anticipated that many of the evidentiary motions filed will contain potentially sensitive information which may be inadmissible at trial," Bakke wrote.

Attorneys for Bryant responded to an earlier request by prosecutors for an independent investigation into an October media leak, saying such a probe would be fruitless.

Initially, Dist. Atty. Mark Hurlbert accused one of Bryant's attorneys, Hal Haddon, of telling a retired Colorado judge, William Jones, that another man's semen was found in the underwear of Bryant's accuser.

Jones relayed the information to a reporter before it was introduced as evidence Oct. 15, the second day of Bryant's preliminary hearing.

Hurlbert later said he was not accusing Haddon but wanted Ruckriegle to begin an inquiry to determine the source of the leak.

In the defense response, Haddon said a probe would "divert attention and resources from the substantive issues in this case." He also noted that the presiding judge at the time was not Ruckriegle, but Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett, who should conduct any investigation.

Haddon cited a precedent in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing, pointing out that the judge in that case denied a similar request.

Bryant, 25, is accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at an Edwards, Colo., resort. He says they had consensual sex.

Ruckriegle has scheduled hearings Dec. 19 and Jan. 23 to discuss motions by both sides.

Experts said key rulings will address the admissibility of statements Bryant made to investigators and evidence pertaining to the credibility of his accuser. Portions of those hearings could be closed to the public.

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