High Court Orders Release Of Assault Video

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Lawyers for four people accused of sexually assaulting of a 13-year-old girl and child pornography will get copies of a videotape prosecutors seized as evidence.

Washoe County Deputy District Attorney Gemma Waldron had objected to copying and providing the tape to defense lawyers. She argued that in doing so, she would be in violation of child pornography laws.

Defense lawyers claimed they needed copies of the tape to adequately prepare for trial.

The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday agreed with the defense, saying the state's child pornography laws are designed to protect children - not prevent defendants from a fair trial.

Claude Epperson, Ryan Barnes and Doni Hodge are charged with sexual assault, lewdness and child pornography. A fourth defendant, Brittania Todd, is charged with child pornography.

The four attended a party in January 2003 where people were drinking and having sex. According to court documents, the girl joined in the drinking but doesn't remember anything that happened after that.

Records also said she was taken to a hospital where a nurse determined she had been sexually assaulted.

Prosecutors said a video made during the party showed she had sex with several people, who were warned that the girl was underage.