Civil lawsuit still moving forward

Updated: December 6, 2004, 9:49 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Kobe Bryant's attorneys asked a judge Monday to make sure the NBA star doesn't have to answer questions about what they called other "consensual relationships" as he defends himself against a civil lawsuit accusing him of rape.

Lawyers for both sides had previously discussed that Bryant would be deposed Tuesday in California, answering questions for the first time under oath about what happened at a mountain resort last year.

However, in a filing released Monday in federal court, Bryant's lawyers said both sides couldn't agree on the kinds of questions the Los Angeles Lakers star would be asked.

They said planned questions about Bryant's history of "consensual sexual relationships with anyone other than the plaintiff" have "no possible relevance" to the woman's claims. They asked a judge to bar such questions.

"On December 1, plaintiff's counsel suggested that he was entitled to learn the name of each woman with whom Mr. Bryant has ever had a sexual encounter, even if Mr. Bryant testified under oath that the sexual encounter was consensual," Bryant's lawyers wrote in the filing.

His laywers also said the deposition should be delayed until the woman decides whether to move her suit to state court in California, so he would only have to be questioned once. The defense wants Bryant, a married father of one, to be able to give his deposition in California, where he lives.

They also asked that a judge determine which documents, including medical and financial records, should be kept sealed.

Bryant attorney Pamela Mackey did not return a call seeking comment. John Clune, an attorney for the woman, declined comment.

The filings indicate that lawyers in the case negotiated over where the deposition would take place, with Bryant's lawyers seeking to keep the time and place secret because they were worried about media attention. In a Nov. 29 letter to one of Bryant's attorneys, L. Lin Wood, one of the woman's lawyers, wrote he didn't think Bryant should get any special treatment.

"I am confident that any `media circus' in the civil case will pale in comparison to the `media circus' in the criminal proceedings, which did not seem to interfere with the proceedings in that case in Eagle," Wood wrote.

In the criminal case, the woman answered hours of questions about her sexual history behind close doors in a pretrial hearing. The judge in that case ruled that defense lawyers could ask her about her sexual activities in the three days before her hospital exam.

The case never went to trial.

Prosecutors dropped a sexual assault charge against Bryant on Sept. 1 after the woman said she no longer wanted to participate in the criminal case following a series of courthouse gaffes that released details about her on the Internet.

Her civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for pain, scorn and ridicule the woman says she has suffered since her encounter with Bryant at the Vail-area resort where she worked in June 2003. Bryant's attorneys say the woman was an "eager, willing participant."

No trial date has been set in the civil case.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press