Preliminary questionnaires ruled out Friday

Updated: June 26, 2004, 12:43 AM ET
Associated Press

EAGLE, Colo. -- A judge scheduled NBA star Kobe Bryant's sex assault trial for Aug. 27, more than a year after he allegedly assaulted a 19-year-old woman in a luxury hotel.

The trial is expected to take three to four weeks, including the process of questioning and choosing jurors.

In an order Friday, state District Judge Terry Ruckriegle also denied a request by both sides to include a preliminary questionnaire when jury summonses are mailed to Eagle County residents randomly selected by computer.

Defense attorney Pamela Mackey had offered to pay half the cost for the preliminary questionnaire, which she said would save time later in helping both sides decide which potential jurors to let go.

A pool of about 1,000 potential jurors will be called, and lawyers will begin eliminating jurors using a 115-item questionnaire. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are still wrangling over the questions.

"Any benefit gained with such process would be substantially outweighed by the requisite delay in setting the matter for trial," Ruckriegle said.

Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault, saying he had consensual sex with the woman at a Vail-area resort June 30, 2003. If convicted, the Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine of up to $750,000.

Both sides and the woman's lawyer have asked for the case to go to trial as quickly as possible.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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