By: Jon Sarche, Associated Press Writer
(AP) The inadvertent release of a hearing transcript containing information about the sex life of Kobe Bryant’s accuser might tempt the judge to admit that information as evidence to reduce the magnitude of the mistake, the woman’s attorney warned.
John Clune told District Judge Terry Ruckriegle in a court filing late Monday that he should not let the mistake influence his upcoming decision on whether to allow the information into the trial, scheduled to begin Aug. 27.
“Although the victim remains confident that this court will be unaffected by improper motives, the appearance still remains,” Clune said.
Transcripts of a two-day closed hearing were accidentally e-mailed to the Associated Press and six other media organizations by a court clerk on June 26.
Ruckriegle quickly threatened media organizations with a contempt citation if they published information from the transcripts. The organizations have challenged the order but have not published any of the information.
Clune blamed the release of the transcript on the court’s use of the Internet and e-mail to distribute information and post documents for attorneys and news media. He said the practice has caused “irreparable” harm to his client and asked the judge to halt it.
Ruckriegle began the practice last year to reduce pressure on court clerks, who received dozens of requests a day to make copies for reporters.
Nearly 400 documents have been posted on the site, including one on Jan. 2 that named the accuser. That document was quickly removed and reposted with the name blacked out.
Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault. He has said he had consensual sex with the woman at the resort where she worked last summer.
If convicted, Bryant faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.
Bryant’s attorneys want to argue to the jury that the woman had other sexual partners around the time she met Bryant, and that injuries found on her during a hospital examination could have been caused by them.
Clune did not immediately return a call Tuesday.