Kobe's Accuser May Discuss Dropping Case

The woman who accused Kobe Bryant (searchof rape will have to discuss with prosecutors whether she will go ahead with the criminal case because she fears the release of court documents about her sex life threatens her chance of getting a fair hearing, one of her lawyers said Wednesday.

John Clune said his 20-year-old client will have to talk to prosecutors soon about that and will also consider whether to file a civil suit against the NBA star.

Asked if his client is considering dropping out of the criminal case, Clune told The Associated Press: "That's something she and prosecutors will have to discuss in the immediate future. The DA's office will have to make that decision on what they want to do."

The woman's other lawyer, L. Lin Wood (search), said decisions on how to proceed should be made in a matter of days. Bryant is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 27 in Eagle, Colo.

"This young woman is not going away. Whether it proceeds criminally or civilly or both, justice is going to be had for this young woman," Clune said.

Prosecutors have been in constant contact with the accuser and her lawyers throughout the case and were told the woman would still participate even after the release of the transcripts, district attorney's spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said Wednesday.

"Nothing has changed with our plans of going forward with the prosecution of this case," she said.

Under pressure from the U.S. Supreme Court (search), District Judge Terry Ruckriegle on Monday released some 200 pages of transcripts from a closed-door hearing in June. The transcripts had been mistakenly e-mailed to The Associated Press and six other media organizations, who fought for the right to publish their contents.

Click to read the judge's ruling.

The documents include testimony from a DNA expert for the defense, Elizabeth Johnson, who says she is convinced the accuser had sex with someone after Bryant and before she contacted authorities — a claim that Clune has vehemently denied.

Johnson based her conclusion on the discovery of another man's sperm on the woman when she underwent a rape exam at a hospital.

There was no testimony in the documents from a prosecution expert on the issue. Clune and prosecutors say the transcripts are one-sided and that a gag order in the case prevents them from presenting their explanation of the damaging evidence before the trial.

Prosecutors have suggested the woman put on underwear that hadn't been washed before going to the hospital, transferring semen from a man identified only as "Mr. X" to her body.

The judge has said the defense can present evidence about the woman's sexual activities in the three days before the 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.

Clune has kept a low profile during the case but on Wednesday he and Wood appeared on ABC to express their frustration with court mistakes which breached the woman's privacy.

"The amount of damage that has been caused by the court's error is so harmful not only to this case but to this young woman that it would be irresponsible for us not to speak at this time," Clune told the AP.

In September, the woman's name was included in a filing on a state courts Web site that was quickly removed. Last fall, the hospital where she and Bryant were examined accidentally turned over her medical records to attorneys in the case.

That was followed by the e-mail mistake in June and a gaffe last week in which a sealed order by Ruckriegle was mistakenly posted on the Web site, divulging her name again and information about DNA evidence collected during Bryant's hospital exam.

Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault, saying he had consensual sex with the woman at a Vail-area resort last summer. If convicted, he faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine up to $750,000.