DENVER – Attorneys for Kobe Bryant (search) urged a federal judge Monday to lift the anonymity of the woman accusing the NBA star of rape, saying she should not be able to bring a "false accusation" in her civil lawsuit without being identified.
"The plaintiff's desire to have it both ways — preserving her anonymity while exposing the intimate details of her sexual encounter with Mr. Bryant and requiring him to bear alone the burden of constant public scrutiny" suggests that her lawsuit is more about putting pressure on the basketball star than anything else, the attorneys wrote.
Prosecutors dropped a felony sexual assault charge against Bryant last month after the woman, now 20, refused to participate in the trial. Her pending civil lawsuit in federal court in Denver seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering since the alleged attack at a Vail-area resort last summer.
Her attorneys want her anonymity protected.
The filing came on the same day Bryant, 26, prepared for training camp with the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers (search) in California. He did not discuss the case or an allegation he told investigators that former teammate Shaquille O'Neal paid up to $1 million in hush money to various women to keep quiet about similar situations.
There have been few public court filings in the civil case, which was filed in August and is now before U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch. But on Monday, the defense confirmed Bryant has again hired attorneys including Pamela Mackey (search), who was behind some of the blistering court filings and arguments in the criminal case.
It was Mackey who repeatedly named the woman in open court last year, bringing an admonishment from the pretrial hearing judge. In the latest filing, the defense said the woman has no legitimate claim to push her civil lawsuit anonymously and there was no point because her name has been posted on the Internet and was mistakenly published by courthouse staff during the criminal proceeding.
"Her anonymity, such as it is, is in the hands of the media," the defense said in its filing, which also claimed the woman has moved to the East Coast.
Attorneys for a dozen news organizations have objected to requests by the woman's attorneys to seal documents in the civil case. On Monday, the Rocky Mountain News called for keeping the proceedings open.
"The News and most other media organizations to date have exercised their editorial judment and not published her name," the newspaper's attorneys wrote. "However, in continuing to report on the plaintiff's civil claim against Mr. Bryant, the News may determine to use the parties' names as it would in other civil proceedings."