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Bryant's accuser remains focus of the case

Judith Crosson | July 30, 2004 12:43 IST

Basketball star Kobe Bryant was set on Friday to return to a Colorado courtroom, but attention in the high-profile case was fixed on the young woman who has accused him of rape.

The Los Angeles Laker's defence team has been relentless in its attack on the 20-year-old woman's credibility and stability.

On Thursday, the court released documents that showed the woman received about $20,000 from a victim's compensation fund, mostly for mental health treatment.

Bryant's lawyers contend that the compensation was so large it could have created a financial incentive for the woman to falsely claim she was a victim of rape, a theory the woman's lawyer called "just disgusting."

According to a court transcript of a closed hearing released on Thursday, Bryant's lawyer, Pamela Mackey, urged District Judge Terry Ruckriegle to allow a jury to hear testimony about the compensation in the trial of the NBA star, which is set to begin on August 27 in Eagle, Colorado.

Bryant, who has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge, has said the two had consensual sex in his hotel room at a Vail-area resort where she worked. According to police testimony at an earlier hearing, the two were kissing, but then events took a terrible turn and he raped her over a chair.

The mainstream media have not published the name of the woman who was 19 when she said Bryant raped her on June 30 last year. But supermarket tabloids have and amazingly so have court employees who mistakenly left her name on documents published on the court's own Web site, the most recent example on Wednesday.

The woman's attorney, John Clune, said she has lost trust in the judicial system, but not her resolve to go on with the case. A court spokeswoman said the error was due to a clerk selecting the wrong document and that the court administrator planned to apologize to the woman and her family.

"They took the time to explain themselves to the media, but they have not even taken a second to contact me," Clune said on Thursday evening.

The woman received another shock last week when the judge ruled that evidence about her sexual activity with other men around the time she said Bryant raped her could be admitted at trial to explain injuries to the woman's genital area.

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