Lawyers plan seven-hour session Friday

Updated: February 23, 2005, 6:03 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER – Lawyers for the woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape will get their first chance to question him under oath when they meet the NBA star Friday in Los Angeles.

L. Lin Wood and John Clune will meet with the Lakers guard in Orange County for a seven-hour session, the attorneys said Wednesday. Bryant spoke with sheriff's deputies the night after the June 2003 incident, but this week will be the first time since the 20-year-old woman accused him of attacking her that he will be sworn to tell the truth.

"Federal rules allow me to ask any question relevant to the claims or defenses in the case," Wood said.

The woman sued Bryant in Denver federal court last summer, three weeks before the criminal case against him in Eagle County collapsed when she decided she could not take part in a trial. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for mental injuries, humiliation and public scorn the former hotel worker said she has suffered since their encounter at a Vail-area resort.

Bryant, a married father of one, issued an apology but insisted the sex was consensual.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch rejected a request by Bryant's lawyers to limit what the woman's attorneys will be able to ask during this week's deposition. The questioning was initially scheduled for December, but Bryant's attorneys refused to allow questions about his sexual history they said could violate the privacy rights of people not involved in the lawsuit.

Matsch said he would deal with any objections by Bryant's lawyers after the deposition.

Wood and Clune said they expected the questioning to take a full day. Bryant is expected to be in the lineup for the Lakers' home game that night against the Pistons.

Wood said there will be a second round of questioning later to ask Bryant about his "financial condition."

The trial could begin as early as this summer.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE