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Bryant accuser seeks speedy trial date

Alleged victim, attorney tell of death threats


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Bryant, accuser to face each other in court
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Colorado
Sex Crimes
Kobe Bryant

EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- The 19-year-old woman who has accused NBA star Kobe Bryant of raping her asked a judge Thursday to set a trial date as soon as possible so that she can get on with her life. She said she has received hundreds of death threats and been forced to quit school.

The alleged victim and her attorney each said she has received hundreds of death threats and that she has been forced to quit school.

"As each month passes, more dates are scheduled for motions, and more death threats are sent to a 19-year-old girl who has been forced to leave everyone who has the ability to protect her," said attorney John Clune. "The victim asks this court to force the parties to select a trial date."

As part of the motion, the woman's mother sent a letter to the judge saying that her daughter's "life is on hold and her safety is in jeopardy until this case is over."

In his motion, Clune said pretrial hearings have been set for months. "Eight months have passed since these events and no trial date has been set on this matter," Clune wrote. "The time is ripe for this court to set this matter for trial."

He told the judge that prosecutors agree with him, and he noted Bryant's defense has consistently said they want the "earliest trial date available."

Bryant, 25, is charged with sexually assaulting the woman at a lodge near Eagle last June. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he had consensual sex with the woman.

If convicted, Bryant, an All-Star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, could be sentenced to four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

In his arguments Thursday, Clune said his client has received hundreds of death threats since the allegations were made, and currently there is no end in sight for motions to be heard in the case.

In the motion filed Thursday, Clune told District Judge W. Terry Ruckriegle that the intense scrutiny by the public and the media has altered his client's life.

"She has been forced to quit school, she cannot live at home, she cannot talk to her friends, and she has received literally hundreds of phone calls and e-mails threatening either death or mutilation," he said.

The accuser's mother, in her letter to the judge, said three people have been arrested for threatening her daughter's life and her daughter has lived in four states in the past six months.

"She can't live at home, she can't live with relatives, she can't go to school, or talk to her friends," the mother wrote. "When she moves to a new location, she doesn't know anyone. As soon as she gets a job or makes a few acquaintances, someone figures out who she is and the media arrives."

Noting that Bryant is "able to continue living in his home and continue with his employment," the mother added, "My daughter has plans for her future. She wants to continue her education. However, her life is on hold and her safety is in jeopardy until this case is over. I am asking that the court do whatever possible to bring this case to trial as soon as possible."

Wednesday session focused on accuser's past

On Wednesday, the accuser answered questions about her sexual past for three and a half hours in a closed-door pretrial hearing in the Eagle County courthouse.

It marked the first time Bryant and his accuser have been in the same room since the alleged assault June 30.

The purpose of the hearing is to help Ruckriegle decide if the woman's sexual past is relevant to the case and can be introduced in the trial against Bryant.

Normally, Colorado's rape shield law protects alleged rape victims from having to reveal their sexual history. But Ruckriegle decided to allow the pretrial questioning in a closed session, and the Colorado Supreme Court refused the prosecutor's request to intervene in the matter.

In the remainder of Wednesday's hearing, friends and alleged sexual partners of the woman testified behind closed doors. One of her former boyfriends testified Thursday morning. The rest of the day's hearing was dealing with suppression of evidence, including whether a taped police interview with Bryant should be allowed and whether a bloody T-shirt of Bryant's could be used as evidence.


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