EAGLE, Colo. – A nurse who examined the alleged victim in the sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant (search) was questioned by attorneys for more than three hours Tuesday behind closed doors.
The woman, a sexual assault nurse at Valley View Hospital (search), was preceded on the witness stand by three young men whose identities were not known.
Their testimony could play a major role: State Judge Terry Ruckriegle is using the hearing to decide whether the sexual history of the 19-year-old accuser can be used against her at the NBA star's trial.
The day ended with arguments on a defense motion to suppress certain evidence. More arguments were expected Wednesday on the evidence question and on the relevance of the alleged victim's sexual history, state courts spokeswoman Karen Salaz said.
The defense contends injuries found on the woman could have resulted from sex with multiple partners before and after her encounter with Bryant, and they want to make those arguments to a jury.
The prosecution says the woman's sex life is irrelevant in determining whether she was raped. Her attorney, John Clune, has denied she had a sexual partner after Bryant and before she went to police.
Scott Robinson, a Denver defense attorney who is following the case, said the woman's comments to the nurse during the exam would not carry medical confidentiality protections because it involved allegations of a crime.
"I think [the defense wants] to find out everything the young woman told the nurse and utilize every possible scrap of physical evidence to support [their arguments]," Robinson said.
Ruckriegle has already barred defense access to the woman's medical records, though experts say witnesses will likely be called to discuss her purported suicide attempts and anti-depressant use.
Bryant has said he had consensual sex with the woman last June at the Vail-area resort where she worked. If convicted of felony sexual assault, the 25-year-old Los Angeles Lakers' (search) star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation.
More than two dozen witnesses, including the accuser, former boyfriends and college roommates, have already testified in private during hearings this spring. Nine defense witnesses appeared Monday alone.
Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said Tuesday it was unlikely the sexual history hearing will be completed this week. Another hearing is scheduled to begin May 10.
This week's three-day hearing was also expected to include closed-door arguments on a defense motion to have certain evidence thrown out on grounds it was gathered illegally.
The evidence includes some of Bryant's statements to investigators, a T-shirt stained with the woman's blood and a rape kit performed on Bryant at the hospital in Glenwood Springs.
The defense says investigators improperly questioned Bryant and botched the execution of a court order. Prosecutors say Bryant voluntarily spoke with investigators and handed over evidence.
Ruckriegle has said he would like to hear arguments on other topics Wednesday, including requests by the accuser and prosecutors to get a formal plea from Bryant and a trial date.