Kobe Bryant's defense team said Wednesday that it wants the judge to tell the NBA star's jury that investigators did not collect certain evidence that could have suggested he is not guilty of rape.
In a court filing, Bryant's attorneys asked the judge to instruct jurors at the upcoming trial that the lost evidence, including bathroom towels and the contents of trash cans, could have cleared their client had it been collected.
Defense attorney Hal Haddon also criticized prosecutors for an "ongoing pattern and practice of failing to look for -- and obstructing the defense's access to -- exculpatory evidence in this case."
Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to comment, saying any response would be made in court.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert has said Eagle County sheriff's detectives conducted a thorough investigation that produced enough evidence to support convicting Bryant of felony sexual assault.
Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty and said he had consensual sex with the 19-year-old resort worker in his hotel room last June. If convicted, the Los Angeles Lakers star faces four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation, and a fine of up to $750,000.
No trial date has been set, but both sides have suggested it could begin in August or September.
Haddon wrote that when detectives entered Bryant's hotel room, they did not execute a search warrant and the only pieces of evidence they collected were the clothes Bryant wore at the time of the alleged attack two days earlier.