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Law

Bryant statements to police at heart of hearing

Accuser's medical records also being considered

Kobe Bryant missed Monday's hearing because of illness.
Kobe Bryant missed Monday's hearing because of illness.

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Evidence or testimony about statements Kobe Bryant made to investigators will be heard behind closed doors at hearing in Colorado. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports (February 2)
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EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- A two-day hearing began Monday in Colorado to determine the admissibility of statements NBA star Kobe Bryant made to police last summer, as well as the medical records of the woman who accused him of sexual assault.

Much of Monday's hearing was closed; the hearing is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.

Bryant's attorneys allege that sheriff's deputies questioned Bryant on July 2 about allegations of sexual assault without reading him his Miranda rights. They also claim deputies recorded the 75-minute conversation with a hidden tape recorder.

Defense attorneys also argue that deputies took as evidence two T-shirts and a pair of nylon track pants, and took blood and hair samples without serving Bryant with a search warrant. They argue the items were seized illegally and the evidence should be suppressed.

In a preliminary hearing in October, Eagle County Detective Doug Winters testified that Bryant's accuser's blood was found on Bryant's T-shirt.

Also Monday, Eagle County District Judge Terry Ruckriegle was expected to hear arguments about whether the woman accusing Bryant of sexual assault waived her right to keep her medical history private by talking about it with her friends.

Bryant's attorneys want the medical and psychological records released, arguing they affect her credibility and motivation for bringing the charge.

Bryant is in Colorado, but he called in sick and did not appear at the hearing when it began Monday morning, a court spokeswoman said.

The hearings are open, except for the parts that deal with the accuser's records and Bryant's statements to sheriff's deputies July 2.

Bryant, a 25-year-old guard for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, could be sentenced to four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if a jury convicts him of felony sexual assault.

The married father of a young daughter said he had consensual sex with the 19-year-old woman, a former employee of a mountain resort where he stayed last summer. The incident took place June 30 and was reported to authorities July 1.

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

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

The case is expected to go to trial this spring.

CNN's Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.


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