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Bryant defense blasts hand span request

Kobe Bryant
Bryant admits he had sex with the woman but says it was consensual.

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(CNN) -- Defense lawyers for NBA star Kobe Bryant, accused of raping a hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado, said in court documents released Friday they had no objection to a prosecution request to measure the basketball player's hand span.

But Bryant's lawyers blasted the prosecution for not simply asking for the measurement, and instead filing a motion with the court "which contained an irrelevant and totally gratuitous statement attributed to Mr. Bryant by the accuser."

"The alleged statement was wholly irrelevant to the motion and its inclusion was a transparent attempt to prejudice the jury pool," Bryant's lawyers wrote in the response, which was filed with the Eagle County Court Thursday.

In court documents filed in December, the prosecution asked for a measurement of Bryant's hand span, accusing the Los Angeles Laker All-Star of trying to strangle the alleged victim and forcing her "to bend over a chair."

"The defendant was behind the victim and held her in position with one hand around her throat," the prosecution says.

The documents say that after Bryant allegedly made an obscene statement, he "tightened his hold on her neck. She said at times he was 'squeezing pretty tight.'

She described his hands as big, 'bigger than usual,'" the prosecution says. "She further stated that the defendant's one hand 'could almost circle my whole neck.'"

The next pre-trial hearing in the case is scheduled for January 23.

Bryant, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel worker in late June in his room at a luxurious resort in Eagle, Colorado. Bryant admits he had sex with the woman but says it was consensual.

Defense attorneys say the alleged victim is a troubled, attention-seeking teen who twice tried to commit suicide to elicit sympathy from her ex-boyfriend.

The case is not expected to go to trial until spring 2004. If convicted, Bryant could be sentenced to four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.


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