Kobe Hearings Likely to Stretch Through Mid-May

Despite an impassioned plea from the accuser's family to quicken the pace, hearings in the Kobe Bryant (search) sexual assault case are likely to stretch through at least mid-May.

The 19-year-old woman accusing the NBA (search) star of rape asked the judge Thursday to set a trial date soon to bring an end to the relentless media scrutiny and death threats she said she has endured since last summer.

"Her life is on hold and her safety is in jeopardy until this case is over," the woman's mother wrote in a letter accompanying a court filing seeking "swift resolution" of the pretrial proceedings.

But lawyers were not able to finish up closed-door hearings this week on two topics: whether the accuser's sexual history can be introduced at trial, and whether statements by Bryant and some physical evidence should be thrown out.

The hearing on the woman's sexual history will resume in late April because several subpoenaed witnesses were not available this week, state courts spokeswoman Karen Salaz said.

The hearing on whether to throw out other evidence went more slowly than anybody anticipated and will resume April 2, Salaz said.

More hearings are scheduled May 10-12. Other unresolved issues include a defense request to introduce the woman's medical and mental health history as evidence and a defense challenge of the state's rape-shield law.

That law bars defense attorneys from bringing up an alleged victim's sexual history in most cases.

Bryant, 25, is accused of attacking the woman last June at the Vail-area resort where she worked and he was a guest. He has said they had consensual sex.

If convicted of felony sexual assault, the Los Angeles Lakers (search) guard faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.

In the request to speed up the process, the alleged victim's attorney said she has received "literally hundreds of phone calls and e-mails threatening either death or mutilation."

"None of these consequences will end until after this case goes to trial," attorney John Clune wrote.

Clune's filing said prosecutors have no objection to setting a trial date. Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said she could not comment.

The defense wants details of the woman's sex life admitted to back up their claim she might have been injured during sex with someone else the week of her encounter with Bryant.

Bryant's attorneys also are trying to suppress evidence including a T-shirt stained with the woman's blood and a secretly taped recording of Bryant's statements to investigators the night after the alleged attack last summer.

The woman herself testified for more than three hours Wednesday, the first time she has faced Bryant since then. She was followed on the witness stand by several acquaintances, including former co-worker Robert Pietrack, believed to be the first person she told about the alleged rape.

Most media organizations have not disclosed her identity, but her name and image have been plastered across the Internet and supermarket tabloids for months. Three men have been arrested and charged with making death threats against her.

In the letter, the woman's mother told the judge her daughter has lived in four states in the past six months and that she and her husband are constantly worried about her safety.

She had sharp criticism of the media for forcing her daughter to live on the run.

"She can't live at home, she can't live with relatives, she can't go to school or talk to her friends," she wrote. "Even the defendant is able to continue living in his home and continue with his employment."