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Bryant ordered to appear in court

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant

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EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- A judge ruled Thursday that NBA star Kobe Bryant must appear at a hearing next Wednesday to hear the felony sexual assault charge against him.

Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett denied a motion by Bryant's attorneys to waive his right to appear at the hearing, which will be broadcast live.

But Gannett did not rule on a media request to unseal court documents, including the arrest warrant and accompanying affidavits.

Lawyers for the prosecution and the defense argued such a move would jeopardize the rights of the alleged victim and Bryant to get a fair trial.

Attorneys for the media group that filed the motion said the public has a right to know what is inside the documents. CNN is one of the news organizations in the media group.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard was charged with one count of sexual assault after a 19-year-old woman told police that he assaulted her June 30 at a mountain lodge where she worked and where Bryant was staying.

Bryant, who is married, has acknowledged he had sex with the woman, but insists it was consensual and that he did not assault her.

Gannett has issued two orders setting guidelines for the trial. Last week he limited what lawyers could say outside the courtroom, and this week he issued a "decorum order" warning the media to honor his rules or face exclusion from court proceedings and other "legal sanctions."

The order said the "privacy of the alleged victim is of significant importance to this court, and any media or other person who broadcasts, publishes, or otherwise disseminates the image or name of such person may be subject to exclusion from certain proceedings and other legal sanctions."

The order drew the ire of First Amendment advocates.

In recent days, a Los Angeles radio talk show host broadcast the name of the woman, and two Web sites carried information about her.

Gannett's order also established restrictions on what activities can take place in public areas surrounding the Eagle County justice center.

For example, "all cameras, cell phones, video phones, tape recorders, or other transmitting devices shall be barred from the courthouse."

In addition, "media members of the public may photograph persons, except the alleged victim and her family, witnesses and jurors. The media shall not contact or attempt to interview any parties."

A separate judge is ruling on whether to release 911 calls made during the past year from the home of the alleged victim.

CNN correspondent Josie Karp and producers Adam Reiss and KimChi Tyler contributed to this report.


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