June 23, 2004 08:00 AM

Closed-door arguments wrapped up Tuesday over whether to allow as evidence intimate details about the woman accusing Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.

Written arguments over the issue are due next week. As a result, Judge Terry Ruckriegle has yet to set a trial date for the NBA star and is not expected to do so until next month. Attorneys have said they could be ready for trial by late August.

Tuesday’s hearing concluded with testimony from Elizabeth Johnson, a DNA expert for the defense. Noted forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee and Dr. Michael Baden, the chief medical examiner for New York state, were also present in court.

Lee was consulting with the prosecution on crime-scene investigation and DNA, while Baden was consulting regarding pictures of the alleged victim’s jaw.

Bryant, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a hotel employee at a Vail-area resort last summer. The Lakers star has said that the sex with the woman was consensual and has pleaded not guilty.

Bryant’s attorneys want to introduce evidence that they contend will show that the accuser had multiple sex partners the same week as her encounter with Bryant, and, therefore, her injuries may have been caused by others.

Still, says Craig Silverman, a former criminal prosecutor and legal analyst who’s been monitoring the case: “If I (were) Kobe Bryant, I would be very worried about Dr. Lee and Dr. Baden’s testimony against me. Their fame is important, but more important is their proven ability to connect with the jurors. They’re not only great scientists but great communicators.”

Bryant flew out of Colorado’s Eagle County airport in the afternoon. He has been flying in and out each night, not spending any time in Eagle County.

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