Media interviews could delay civil trial

DENVER -- Attorneys for the woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape say his defense team is requesting to interview news media organizations that covered the case for the sole purpose of delaying her civil trial.

The woman's lawyers said Thursday that Bryant's defense team wants to interview "numerous nonparties" in the case, which will cause significant delays and cost the woman tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses.

Included is American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer and other tabloids that published articles about Bryant and the woman, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Telephone calls to the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company went unanswered Thursday evening and attorneys for Bryant did not return after-hours messages.

The court filing came in response to Bryant's argument that others were at least partly responsible for emotional injuries the woman allegedly suffered since her encounter with Bryant in a Vail-area hotel in June 2003.

Bryant's attorneys have argued the woman's alleged injuries may have been caused by numerous media organizations that published information about the case, including The Associated Press. His attorneys also cite individuals who threatened the woman and the Eagle County Court, which mistakenly released the woman's name and other personal information during the criminal case.

The woman's attorneys argue the Los Angeles Lakers guard is trying to shift responsibility away from himself and have asked a federal judge to throw out Bryant's claims.

The woman sued Bryant three weeks before prosecutors dropped their criminal case, citing the woman's desire to no longer participate. Bryant issued an apology to the woman but said he believed the sex was consensual.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified money damages from Bryant for the woman's alleged emotional injuries.

It is the policy of the AP not to print names of alleged sexual assault victims without their consent. The woman has asked that her name not be published.