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Hospital released Bryant accuser's records

Judge orders notes about unrelated ER visits destroyed

Kobe Bryant is shown during Friday's hearing with attorney Pamela Mackey in this courtroom sketch.
Kobe Bryant is shown during Friday's hearing with attorney Pamela Mackey in this courtroom sketch.

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Kobe Bryant
Sex Crimes
Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- Medical records not directly related to a sexual assault charge leveled by a 19-year-old woman against NBA star Kobe Bryant were given by mistake to his attorneys, it was revealed Friday in a Colorado courtroom.

The records were sent by a hospital in Eagle and include notes about an emergency room visit by the woman May 30, a month before the alleged incident, a lawyer for the hospital said.

In court papers, attorneys have been referring to a purported suicide attempt by the woman, which courtroom observers have concluded was described in the records.

The records were sent by mistake to the prosecutors, who then sent them -- in another mistake -- to defense lawyers.

On Friday, the hospital's lawyer asked to have those records returned, but instead Eagle County District Judge Terry Ruckriegel ordered that the copies be destroyed and ordered the lawyers involved to remove the information from their minds.

That is unlikely to happen, said Craig Silverman, an attorney who has been following the case.

"To get rid of the damage, it would make all of the members of Team Kobe have a partial lobotomy," Silverman said. "The information is basically in their heads."

Ruckriegel said the defense could get new copies if it decides that the records can be used in the trial.

Attorneys for Bryant want the accuser's medical and psychological records to be made public, arguing that they affect her credibility and motivation in bringing the charge.

Bryant, 25, a guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of felony sexual assault.

Married and the father of a young daughter, Bryant says he had consensual sex with the woman, a former employee of a mountain resort where he stayed last summer.

In court documents, the defense says the accuser's medical and mental history may demonstrate her "motive, scheme, plan and modus operandi for falsely accusing Mr. Bryant of sexual assault" and should also be considered as a jury determines her credibility.

Defense attorneys allege in court documents filed last year that the woman twice tried to commit suicide to elicit sympathy from her ex-boyfriend.

Prosecutors contend that the defense has no right to the records because they are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality.

But the defense was expected to argue in Friday's hearing that, because the accuser talked about those records with her friends, she implicitly waived her right to confidentiality. The prosecution is expected to argue that any discussion with friends is irrelevant.

Bryant's attorneys have filed court documents that allege there is evidence his accuser had sex with another man within 18 hours of when she claimed she was assaulted by Bryant.

The documents also claim the woman had sex with another man in the days before the alleged crime, which the defense says could explain injuries on the woman that she attributed to the purported assault.

Judge asks for less paperwork

Inside the courthouse, the parents of the accuser sat 15 feet from Bryant, who directed his attention to his attorneys, occasionally whispering to them.

Also Friday, lawyers for both sides agreed they wanted to move the case forward quickly. To that end, Ruckriegel asked them to decrease the amount of paperwork they have generated.

"I have more files in this case from you lawyers than I had from a death penalty case that I dealt with, and that death penalty case lasted 18 months," Ruckriegel told the lawyers. "So slow down the files if you want this case to move quicker."

Ruckriegel announced in court that both sides have agreed to share evidence. That means defense experts will be able to scrutinize clothing and DNA evidence that the prosecution has, he said.

But the fate of notes taken by counselors at a rape crisis center that the woman visited shortly after the alleged assault remained uncertain.

The crisis center has said the notes are privileged, and should not be released to the defense. The judge said he will decide whether to hold a hearing on the matter.

The case is expected to go to trial this spring.

CNN's Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.


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