The judge in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case apologized on Friday for mistakes that led to the release of sealed information revealing the name of the L.A. Laker’s accuser.
With the parents of the alleged victim looking on in the courtroom during the hearing, District Judge Terry Ruckriegle said he will do his best to ensure such errors do not happen again, according to news reports.
On Wednesday, a court official in the case mistakenly posted on a court Web site Ruckriegle’s order containing the name of the woman and previously undisclosed details of evidence – the third time that sealed information in the case has mistakenly been made public, reported the Denver Post.
The order also made reference to DNA testing that legal experts said could benefit the NBA star, who has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel concierge. Bryant, 25, has claimed that sex with the woman was consensual.
Following the apology on Friday morning, Ruckriegle closed the courtroom for the rest of the day to hear requests by Bryant’s attorneys to keep his tape-recorded statements to investigators under seal until trial and to limit the prosecution’s use of those statements.
In another development in the case, the Associated Press reports, based on a court transcript, that Bryant’s defense team says his accuser has received more than $17,000 from a victim’s compensation fund in what it terms is a rich incentive to pursue a false claim against the NBA star. The accuser would be ineligible for the funds, and have to make reimbursements, if she lied about the alleged assault, Bryant’s attorney Pamela Mackey argued.
It is unclear whether the compensation information will be allowed as evidence when the case goes to trial.