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Judge decides to shield most other documents

EAGLE, Colo. -- A judge has decided to keep out of the
public's view most of the documents in the Kobe Bryant sexual
assault case that could provide clues to what happened in his hotel
suite.

Media organizations that sought the documents are considering
whether to appeal Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett's order. He
ruled Thursday that the release of the arrest affidavit, search
warrant and other material could jeopardize Bryant's rights.

He also said releasing the information would subject the woman
who accused the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star of rape to "further
intimidation, harassment and abuse." The ruling did not detail
what the woman has gone through.

Gannett agreed to unseal the arrest warrant and related
documents that are unlikely to reveal anything beyond describing
the crimes that sheriff's deputies alleged Bryant committed and the
fact that he was arrested and later released on $25,000 bond.
Gannett put his order on hold and gave attorneys 10 days to appeal.

The public has no way of knowing whether authorities acted
properly in arresting Bryant if the documents are withheld, said
Chris Beall, an attorney for the media organizations.

"What the judge is saying is that in those documents were
statements that have little relevance and are unnecessarily
prejudicial and inflammatory," Beall said. "I think the voters in
Eagle County would like to know whether Sheriff (Joseph) Hoy's
office engaged in improper conduct."

Krista Flannigan, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office,
said they were considering an appeal, too.

Court documents in the high-profile case have been sealed since
Bryant was arrested last month. Media organizations sought their
release over the objections of prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Bryant, 24, has been accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel
worker June 30 in his suite at an exclusive resort in nearby
Edwards. He has said the sex was consensual.

He is scheduled to return to Eagle for an Oct. 9 preliminary
hearing where Gannett will decide whether there is enough evidence
to hold Bryant for trial in state district court.

The media organizations that sought the release of the documents
included NBC, CNN, The Denver Post, the Los Angeles Times and the
Vail Daily newspaper.

In his decision, Gannett said the search warrant and arrest
affidavit contain "factual statements describing graphic details
of the alleged sexual encounter," medical test results, evidence
that can be challenged in court and statements of potential
witnesses.

He said releasing court documents with details blacked out, or
redacted, wasn't an option because the prejudicial material was too
intertwined with other information.

"The court concludes that there is a substantial probability
that the defendant's right to a fair trial would be prejudiced by
disclosure of the affidavit and search warrant materials and that
such prejudice could be prevented by non-disclosure," Gannett
wrote.

Gannett has threatened to bar from his courtroom news
organizations that identify Bryant's accuser. He did allow cameras
in the courtroom for Bryant's initial court appearance Aug. 6, over
the objections of defense attorneys.