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Preliminary questionnaires ruled out Friday

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.