DA Fights Kobe's Request to Seal Evidence

The prosecutor who brought rape charges against Kobe Bryant (search) has joined news organizations in opposing an attempt by the NBA star's attorney to permanently seal evidence and documents in the case.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert's filing late Monday was a reversal of his position on previous attempts to unseal information. While the case was alive, he argued that releasing information could make it difficult to find impartial jurors.

Hurlbert dropped the rape charge against Bryant at the alleged victim's request on Sept. 1. In Monday's filing, Hurlbert said the public's interest in reviewing the actions of prosecutors and the judge outweighs Bryant's privacy.

"The defense wants to stop the flow of information at a time when the defense has purportedly leaked significant information about the victim and her history," he said.

"The one-sided reporting has resulted in a one-sided review of the court system. The public deserves a fair and unbiased review of the court system and its elected officials."

Defense attorney Pamela Mackey had asked District Judge Richard Hart to permanently seal the information, saying it includes "highly sensitive, confidential, embarrassing and private" matters. She said the information was of interest only for "salacious and other improper purposes."

After the criminal charge was dropped, several news organizations including The Associated Press filed requests to obtain the evidence and sealed court filings. Hart temporarily sealed the information in the meantime.

Bryant still faces a federal civil suit filed by the accuser seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering, "public scorn, hatred and ridicule."

The accuser's attorneys also filed documents Monday arguing that the information should be made public, saying state law does not authorize a judge to seal such material in a criminal case. They said some of the information Bryant wants to seal is relevant to the civil case.

In a separate filing, the accuser's attorneys said records dealing with her sexual activities, allegations of drug or alcohol use, her mental health and other information that was ruled inadmissible in the criminal case should remain sealed.