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Kobe Bryant Defense: Cops Biased, Incompetent

A defense lawyer asked a judge Monday to approve expert witnesses he said will show that the investigation of rape charges against Kobe Bryant was shoddy enough to suggest bias against the NBA star.

Bryant attorney Hal Haddon (search) said in court papers he wants to call two experts to testify that the work of sheriff's detectives Doug Winters (search) and Dan Loya (search) was incomplete.

Haddon said the men "closed their eyes" to potential physical evidence at the site of the alleged crime that might have confirmed Bryant's innocence.

"The failure to conduct the most 'regular' police procedure — investigation of a crime scene and collection of physical evidence — suggests both a bias against Mr. Bryant and a willful or reckless unwillingness to consider the possibility that Mr. Bryant committed no crime and that the accuser was lying about the sexual encounter for ulterior motives," Haddon wrote.

Neither Kim Andre, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, nor prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan immediately returned messages seeking comment.

Bryant has pleaded not guilty to raping a 19-year-old woman at the Vail-area resort where she worked last summer, saying the two had consensual sex.

Prosecutors previously asked the judge to bar any testimony from defense experts on crime scene investigations, saying it would be irrelevant and misleading.

The defense experts Haddon hopes to question are Beth Seeman, an Aspen-area crime investigator, and John Ragle, who testified in 1995 that Los Angeles police ignored proper procedures for collecting evidence from where Nicole Brown Simpson (search) and friend Ronald Goldman (search) were killed.

Bryant's defense team has already accused sheriff's investigators of illegally questioning Bryant and violating court rules when they gathered evidence.

Defense attorneys say crime scene investigators should have taken more photos, collected the chair that was the site of the alleged assault, examined carpet near the chair and collected material in waste baskets.

The Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation if convicted of felony sexual assault.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday. Bryant is expected to attend, then return to Los Angeles for a playoff game against Minnesota.