DENVER – Under pressure from the U.S. Supreme Court (search), the judge in the Kobe Bryant (search) sexual assault case indicated Tuesday he may release edited copies of transcripts from a closed-door hearing dealing with the accuser's sex life that were accidentally e-mailed to reporters.
District Judge Terry Ruckriegle ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to work together on proposed deletions and submit a document to him by late Tuesday afternoon.
He did not indicate whether or when he will release the edited documents from a June hearing at the center of a First Amendment legal fight.
The order came less than a day after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (search ) rejected a media request to overturn Ruckriegle's order threatening contempt of court for any news organization that releases the transcripts.
The documents were mistakenly sent to seven news organizations, including The Associated Press. None has published the details, but they contend Ruckriegle's order barring them from doing so is an unconstitutional restraint of a free press.
Breyer, however, said the news organizations could re-file their appeal as early as Wednesday and he hinted that Ruckriegle should act.
"I recognize the importance of the constitutional interests at issue," Breyer wrote. "But a brief delay will permit the state courts to clarify, perhaps avoid, the controversy at issue here."
Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault. He has said he had consensual sex with the woman, then 19.
If convicted, the Los Angeles Lakers (search ) guard faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000. His trial begins Aug. 27.
Ruckriegle ruled on Friday that Bryant's lawyers can present evidence about the woman's sexual activities in the three days before a July 1, 2003, hospital exam, saying it is relevant to help determine the cause of her injuries, the source of DNA evidence and her credibility.
Besides the AP, organizations involved in the transcripts case are The Denver Post, the Los Angeles Times, CBS, Fox News, ESPN and the television show "Celebrity Justice."