DENVER -- A federal judge chastised lawyers in the civil case against NBA star Kobe Bryant yesterday and said they would no longer be allowed to put ''immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous information" in public filings as a summer trial looms.
US District Judge Richard P. Matsch said he was tired of having details put before the public that should be confidential.
''The court is not involved in the entertainment business," said Matsch, the no-nonsense judge who handled the federal Oklahoma City bombing trials. ''It is to be expected that everything that is done here is done consistently with the rules and with a sense of decorum and decency."
Matsch said a number of court filings will be sealed. The material at issue is expected to include depositions, requests between lawyers, and potential questions that will delve into the lives and sexual history of Bryant and the woman who sued him.
Some documents, filed publicly, will now be sealed; the order will also cover material filed in the future.
The woman sued the Los Angeles Lakers player in August, three weeks before the criminal case against him collapsed in Eagle County. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for mental injuries, humiliation, and public scorn the woman said she has suffered since their encounter at an upscale hotel near Vail in June 2003.
Bryant, a married father of one, issued an apology but maintained the sex was consensual.
He did not attend the hearing, but his 20-year-old accuser was present.
One of the woman's lawyers, L. Lin Wood, said outside court that he agreed with Matsch. ''Too much has been filed that had no business being filed. The court system should not be a public relations machine," he said.
Defense lawyers did not comment.