Poll: Rape Accuser's Private Life Seen as 'Fair Game' in Bryant Case

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Nearly half of Americans think it is fair for Kobe Bryant's (search) attorneys to discuss his accuser's sex life in court, and opinion remains mixed on the NBA player's guilt or innocence.

The latest FOX News poll shows that about a third of the public (31 percent) think Bryant is guilty of the sexual assault charge and almost a third (31 percent) think he is innocent, with 38 percent reserving judgment. While there is no significant difference between the views of men and women, whites are slightly more likely than non-whites to think Bryant is guilty of assaulting the 19-year-old woman at a Colorado resort (32 percent and 27 percent respectively).

Three weeks ago, half of Americans were undecided with the remaining half evenly split between guilty (24 percent) and innocent (26 percent).

Bryant has admitted to having consensual sex with the young woman who has accused him of rape.

The current poll, conducted October 14-15 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search), finds that just under half (46 percent) say it is "fair game" for Bryant's attorneys to use his accuser's previous sexual activity as part of the basketball star's defense, but almost four in 10 (38 percent) call that strategy "foul play."

By five percentage points, men are more likely than women to think it is acceptable to use the accuser's private life in the courtroom. In a preliminary hearing this week, Bryant's defense attorneys argued that certain injuries to the accuser might have been caused during previous sexual activity. Most states, including Colorado, have "rape shield" laws, which prohibit using information about an accuser's sex life.

Polling was conducted by telephone October 14-15, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

1. As you may know, professional basketball player Kobe Bryant has been charged with sexual assault. Based on what you've heard so far, do you believe Bryant is guilty or not guilty of these charges?

2. Do you think it is fair game for Kobe Bryant’s defense attorneys to investigate and discuss in court his female accuser’s sex life, or is that foul play?