CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses Kobe Bryant Case
Aired July 21, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Kobe Bryant's ex-girlfriend speaks out. The NBA superstar with the spotless reputation could get life in prison for a charge of felony sexual assault. Now both he and his alleged victim are under the media microscope, and it's getting ugly fast. The story continues to shock America. Tonight, an up-close and personal look at what Kobe's really like from his ex-girlfriend, Jameika Williams. And then, for the latest on the story, Tony Kovaleski of Denver's KMGH, on top of this story from day one; Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor; defense attorney Chris Pixley; and renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
One program note, Bob Dole turns 80 tomorrow night. Senator Dole is our special guest, with a lot of surprise guests, as well. That's tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Jameika Williams, Kobe Bryant's former girlfriend. Jameika is a student -- a graduate student of Whittier (ph) Law College here in California. Previously, she was an undergraduate at Southern California University and will go on to practice law after she passes her bar, hopefully, here in Los Angeles.
Tell me the relationship with Kobe, how you met, where you met.
JAMEIKA WILLIAMS, KOBE BRYANT'S EX-GIRLFRIEND: Well, I met Kobe Bryant in 1997 at the Inglewood (ph) Forum after a basketball game. I saw him. He -- we exchanged numbers.
KING: You were how old?
WILLIAMS: I was 19 years old.
KING: He was?
KING: You were older? Yes.
KING: Because Kobe came right out of high school here.
KING: So that was before he was a big star with the Lakers, right? He was... WILLIAMS: No, he was on the Lakers at the time.
KING: Yes, he was on the team, but he hadn't come into that major prominence yet, right?
WILLIAMS: That's correct.
KING: So you met him, like, after the game?
WILLIAMS: After the game, correct.
KING: And that's when they played at the old Forum.
KING: And then what happened?
WILLIAMS: We called one another, and I was able to go to his mom's house and meet his mom and his sister. And he was just a gentleman. He was a very nice guy, very calm demeanor, quiet, nice guy.
KING: How long did you date?
WILLIAMS: About a couple of months, possibly -- yes, about a couple of months.
KING: Were you serious?
WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say serious, but just dating.
KING: How did you hear about what happened to him?
WILLIAMS: Well, just watching the news coverage. And it basically shocked me. I couldn't believe that he could be possibly charged with sexual assault.
KING: In other words, your first reaction was this was not possible.
WILLIAMS: My first reaction was this was not responsible. That's not the Kobe Bryant that I knew.
KING: He never was rough with you or in any way...
WILLIAMS: Never rough.
KING: ... other than non-gentlemanly.
WILLIAMS: Not -- never rough, never aggressive.
KING: Would it be -- since you're going to be a lawyer, would you -- since you're learning about courts and the like, would you be a character witness?
WILLIAMS: Possibly. I wouldn't mind testifying as to his good character.
KING: In other words, if they asked you, you would go.
WILLIAMS: Yes. Definitely.
KING: Did you follow his career?
WILLIAMS: A little. I watch Laker games sometimes, but I'm not a big Laker fan. But I do watch the games.
KING: What was he like around the family?
WILLIAMS: Very calm. He -- you know, his mom and his sister -- I didn't have the opportunity to meet his dad, but they just seemed like a very nice family, and he seems very deeply rooted in his family background.
KING: Where would you go on dates?
WILLIAMS: He was a very private person, so I had the opportunity just to go to the house.
KING: Oh, he didn't like -- because he was not -- he's not the kind of guy you would see at clubs.
WILLIAMS: No. Definitely not, not the type you would see at a club or out partying.
KING: So how do you explain to yourself, Jameika? I mean, he's admitted, obviously, that he had adultery, that he committed adultery outside of his marriage. How do you explain this to yourself?
WILLIAMS: Well, it is a little surprising, but it did not shock me that he admitted to committing adultery. He's a very honest person and not the type to lie or deny the allegation.
KING: But the other part you can't buy.
WILLIAMS: The other part I can't buy. I believe they were probably, you know, two consenting adults.
KING: What do you think, just on your general knowledge of general human conditions, would be the reaction to him from now on, even if it's thrown out, not guilty, whatever?
WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully, people get over it and, you know, things heal. I know that, you know, humans make mistakes, and people need to realize that he is human. He is a basketball superstar. However, he is human. And adultery is a huge mistake, but I think everyone will probably heal from it.
WILLIAMS: How do you think it's going to work out with his wife?
WILLIAMS: Well, I heard the statement that she said she was willing to stand by his side. And as long as she's willing to stand by his side, I think the public should be more forgiving also. KING: We are, by the way, going to take calls for Jameika before we meet our panel. We'll take a break and come back, and we'll take those calls.
Do you think the race card is going to play here?
WILLIAMS: I hope not. We're in the year 2003, and I really hope the race card does not play a part in this. I think it could have happened to anyone. It could have been a black woman involved or a white woman. So I'm hoping that the race card isn't played.
KING: Of course, if that trial takes place in Eagle County, that's, I think, a county is 94 percent white and it's a white girl charging a black man. If they move it to Denver, that -- do you think it may be moved, by the way?
WILLIAMS: Possibly. I think it may be moved to Denver, hopefully, because Eagle County, as you said, is a very small community. And based on the things I've seen in the media, the public seems to be in her favor in Colorado.
KING: So Kobe was never -- just to clear this up -- never rough with you?
KING: Never harsh, never grabbed you or treated you in any other way other than as a gentleman.
WILLIAMS: Never. Always respected me.
KING: And none of this big macho basketball superstar attitude?
KING: We'll take a break, come back and take some calls for Jameika Williams. And then our panel will join us, and Jameika will remain with us. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOBE BRYANT, LA LAKERS: I'm innocent. You know, I didn't force her to do anything against her will. I'm innocent. You know, I sit here in front of you guys, furious at myself, you know, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Jameika Williams, Kobe Bryant's former girlfriend, dating him for several months back in 1997. She was 19, going on 20. He was 18, turning 19. She's going to be a lawyer soon. In fact, she is taking her last law school exam tomorrow in patent law.
KING: It's not too easy, is it.
KING: All right. Now, we're going to go to your phone calls for Jameika. She'll remain with us through the panel.
Fredericksburg, Virginia. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. Yes. My question is for Jameika. Jameika, what I don't understand is why is it so hard for you to believe that she was telling the truth for the fact that he did have an affair on his wife. Isn't that kind of hard to believe?
WILLIAMS: Yes, it is pretty hard to believe that he had an affair, with his wife, but I don't think he would actually rape this young lady. It's very difficult for me to believe. That's not in his character to commit a crime like that.
KING: Was he beyond his years, by the way, in -- you know, you dated him, he was what, 18?
WILLIAMS: Yes. He was extremely mature.
KING: Yes. I know your earpiece keeps falling out. Just put it back in. We'll get it to fit.
KING: But so he was mature beyond that because...
WILLIAMS: Extremely mature.
KING: ... he certainly has been a mature athlete.
WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely.
KING: For a high school kid to break in.
Brooklyn, New York. Hello.
CALLER: My question for you, Jameika, is you only knew Kobe for a few months. How well did you know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean, to think that he didn't commit this, he didn't rape her, that it was consensual?
WILLIAMS: Well, based on what I know and my experiences, as I stated before, he was always a calm, nice person, a family person. He has a sister. He has a mom. He has a lot of women in his family, and just he seemed so respectful toward them. I cannot see him disrespecting another young woman.
KING: Were you even shocked that he committed adultery?
WILLIAMS: Yes. But things happen. He's only human. And I know he's been placed on this pedestal. But again, you know, humans make mistakes.
KING: Well, the collective "we" put him on the pedestal, didn't we?
KING: We, the media, put him on the pedestal and he...
WILLIAMS: Yes. I think everyone did.
KING: Kobe was an untarnished person.
KING: To Vancouver, British Columbia. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. I worked for many years for a very high-profile politician, and I have seen what women do when they meet a celebrity. Do you think perhaps this could be where she was starstruck, and after the fact now wants to get in the limelight herself?
WILLIAMS: Possibly. I'm not sure. I don't know the young woman in Colorado. But often, women are out to, you know, make money and receive compensation based on their injury, if there was really an injury involved.
KING: Belpre, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Jameika, I have a question...
KING: You lost the...
WILLIAMS: I'll repeat the question for you. Go ahead, ma'am.
CALLER: OK. Jameika, I was wondering what you think about Kobe Bryant, when he admitted he had adultery, but that was after they had the proof. Why didn't he say that he had sexual relations with her before they had the proof? After they had the proof, he pretty well had to admit it.
KING: She said he didn't admit to adultery until after they charged him, when he knew he had committed adultery. Why do you think he didn't say it before?
WILLIAMS: I don't think he really stated anything. I remember "The LA Times" article, I believe, where he stated, You guys know me. I wouldn't do anything like this. He never stated whether or not there was, you know, sexual relations involved. But I didn't think he had to. You know, it was basically kept quiet until, you know, the DNA evidence was brought into light.
KING: So to you, all he was denying was that he would do something of a criminal nature.
WILLIAMS: Correct. I think he was just denying that, you know, nothing illegal happened.
KING: Did you ever see him lose his temper?
WILLIAMS: No. Never. He's always been nice, calm, not the type to blow up or, you know, lose his temper.
KING: So there was nothing about this that you would all indicate anything out of the way?
WILLIAMS: Nothing whatsoever.
KING: OK. All right. Louisville, Kentucky. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. I just wanted to ask Jameika if she thinks that some way or another that this young lady was paid to set Kobe up.
KING: OK, the question is, do you think she might have been paid to set him up?
WILLIAMS: I'm not sure.
KING: Well, that's a little far-fetched because there's so little we know.
WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say she was paid to set him up. I just -- you know, maybe someone talked to her, maybe, but I...
KING: You think it's going to get ugly? Are things coming out about her already? Again, all this is in the nature of -- none of this is fact, just things that have been printed, that she supposedly attempted to take her own life. She had a break-up with her boyfriend, et cetera. Do you think this is going to get -- now they're going to look into Kobe's -- everything about Kobe's life.
WILLIAMS: Yes. I mean, in the media, definitely. It could possibly get ugly. But a lot of these allegations that are being brought up will not be admissible in trial. Like, for example, her previous sexual relations with other men probably would not be admissible in a court of law.
KING: New Orleans, Louisiana. Hello.
KING: Yes. Go ahead.
CALLER: I wanted to know why Kobe and Jameika broke up.
WILLIAMS: Well, we just drifted apart. I was a full-time student, and he was a full-time NBA basketball player.
KING: There was no argument?
WILLIAMS: No, no argument, no bad break-up. GRACE: No, Get out of my life, you creep!
KING: None of that.
WILLIAMS: Not at all.
KING: Just was an amicable break-up.
KING: We're going to take a break. Our panel will join us. We'll be including phone calls for them, and Jameika will remain with us, as well. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: I love my wife with all my heart. She's my backbone. You're a blessing. You're a piece of my heart. You're the air I breathe. And you're the strongest person I know. And I'm so sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Probably the most talked about thing in America today is the trials and tribulations of Kobe Bryant. Remaining with us is Jameika Williams, Kobe Bryant's former girlfriend. She's here in Los Angeles. In Tucson, Arizona, is Tony Kovaleski, investigative reporter for KMGH-TV in Denver. He's covered this from the outset. In New York is Nancy Grace, the anchor of "Closing Arguments" on Court TV and a former prosecutor. In Atlanta, the well-known defense attorney Chris Pixley. And in New York, Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientists, author of the new book, "Blood Evidence: How DNA Is Revolutionizing the Way We Solve Crimes." He's a former Connecticut state commissioner of public safety and professor of forensics at the University of New Haven.
All right, tony, get us up to date with the latest. What do we know?
TONY KOVALESKI, KMGH-TV: Well, Larry, it's a community right now that is clearly trying to digest everything that's happened in the past two weeks. The announcement on Friday, much anticipated. But it's also a community that's been polarized by this. It really depends upon whom you speak with. Some people say that she's an angel. Other people say that she's a sinner. And it really has segmented the community. As a matter of fact, over the weekend, there's a Web page that has been published. We believe it's from someone in the community. And that shows the alleged victim's name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, and also prom pictures. So the community is really segmented over what's happening.
KING: Colorado law prohibits the publication of her name? KOVALESKI: Well, she is a sexual assault victim, and because of that, everything has been sealed. So yes, her name has not been published in the media. It is a choice that the media has made. She has not made herself public, although I've had many discussions with her family, specifically with her dad. And right now, that name is not public, although it is out on the Internet right now. Fact is, everybody in the community knows who she is, knows about her. And we've also learned over the weekend there are some tabloids in the neighborhood, in the community, that are offering large dollars for interviews and any kind of dirt that can come out. So yes, it's getting dirty.
KING: Nancy, we are, of course, in the embryonic stages here. What does a prosecutor have to know before he or she brings a charge like this?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, Larry, the reality is that if you're an ethical prosecutor, you bring the charge if you think a rape has occurred. And interestingly, I was very carefully reading the indictment, which I've got right here. The DA did not have to charge rape by physical force or physical violence, but he specifically lists that in his indictment. And that leads me to deduce that there is more DNA evidence, evidence of possibly bruising, torn clothes, blood. Don't know what, but specifically, I see that in the indictment.
You have to make sure that you are prepared for the onslaught against your female or victim, whatever kind of victim it is -- same thing in child molestation cases -- because that is where the crux of the case will be. And I've got to tell you, Larry, I am heartbroken. I don't know the truth of this case yet. I'm really on the fence. I know you think that's unusual. But what I'm heartbroken about is what this girl is going to have to go through. Already we see her dragged through the mud. And traditionally, rape victims are treated -- I'll just tell you, Larry, they're treated like less than the dirt on the bottom of your shoe!
KING: Chris Pixley, is that just the way it works, that you -- as a defense attorney, you have to take on the witness? The chief witness is the other person.
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The chief witness is the other person, Larry. And you know, you have to remember the flip side of what Nancy's saying it is that it's probably one of the most devastating charges that could be brought against a defendant, to be accused of a sexual assault. So this is a lose/lose situation for everyone involved. Once the criminal indictment comes down, when the alleged victim is of majority age, her name is going to get out there. And obviously, that has apparently already happened. But it is one of the things that you have to do in this kind of case, Larry.
KING: Now, Jameika Williams, who's here with us -- and you've heard her, Chris -- said that she'd be happy to testify. Is this the kind of thing that Kobe's going to need, people like Jameika?
PIXLEY: I think he's going to. You know, the -- so much of this right now is going to be discussed in the public. It will be interesting to see what the Colorado defense team does when it actually comes time for the trial. But yes, presumably, a couple of things are going to happen. They are going to be considering very seriously whether they want to use character witnesses of this kind, and they're going to be considering very seriously whether they want to put Kobe Bryant on the stand himself. And I think, in this case, there's a very good chance that they will. This is a very media-savvy man. He's very well-spoken. And this is a case, a sexual assault case, where you have to address the facts and the charges directly.
KING: All right, Dr. Lee, what part in all of this will DNA play?
DR. HENRY LEE, PROFESSOR OF FORENSIC SCIENCE: DNA will not play...
KING: He's already -- he's already admitted to having sex with her.
LEE: You are right, Larry. DNA means nothing. DNA only confirm they have sex, have ejaculation. Here, basically, physical evidence going to become an important role in the determination outcome of the case, whether or not force involved -- for example, tear of the clothing. Prosecutor probably look into any damaged clothing, any physical injury of the young lady. Of course, the first statement Kobe give to the police -- did he give to police statements saying, Yes, I have sex with her, or he just totally denies, say, No, nothing happened in the room? And defense, of course, look at the other side. All this damage -- let's say have a tear of clothing. That intentionally (UNINTELLIGIBLE) And physical injury, is that self- inflicted? What did...
LEE: ... do in that room for that long time?
KING: You're saying that some potential victims self-inflict?
LEE: Well, many (UNINTELLIGIBLE) many cases, we do have a victim inflict some injury, and that's why need forensic examiner to look at it.
KING: Jameika, you're going to be a lawyer. You're hearing some lawyers speak tonight. Does this fascinate you?
WILLIAMS: Definitely fascinates me. I've never heard that a person could actually self-inflict this type of wound, but I'm not surprised at anything right about now.
KING: Nancy, do you think, as a -- if you were the opposing prosecutor, that Jameika would be an effective witness for Kobe?
GRACE: Well, sure. But I would immediately cross-examine her on the nature of their relationship. As the caller pointed out -- don't need a law degree for that -- how long they dated, two months, how close they were, what was the nature of their relationship, and under what circumstances they went out, how many times did they go out, things like that. Did she really get to know Kobe Bryant? Of course, she makes a great witness. There's a double edge to bringing on someone like Jameika. You bring on a good character witness, that opens the door, as we say in the law, to any bad character that could be floating around out there.
You know, Larry, under our Constitution, in most jurisdictions, you cannot attack a defendant -- a criminal defendant's reputation. But once they bring up good reputation through someone like Jameika, then it is all fair game. So they could bring up any bad act that he had committed in the past, if there is one.
But another interesting thing. There's been a lot of speculation, Larry, that this alleged victim is in it for the limelight. I've got a question, Larry. What limelight? She's holed up in her house with her mom and dad. She can't even walk out the door. And she gets to, for entertainment, watch herself be trashed on national television! A big deal has been made that she was depressed, allegedly, a couple of months ago. You know what? Bring that out of your magic hat for the defense. You'll alienate about three members of the jury. One in four people in America are clinically depressed. So so far, I have not been impressed by the mudslinging.
KING: Tony, sadly enough, is her name and everything going to be revealed? Is Tony there?
KOVALESKI: You know, I -- yes, Larry, I am here. And the question here is -- no, the family has handled themselves incredibly well. They took the advice of the district attorney. They have avoided every interview. They've handled many calls from the media. As I told you earlier, I spoke with the father outside, and we talked about issues. But any time I tried to ask about any specifics, even when some of the early mudslinging happened -- I said, Do you have any response to that? He said, We're making no comment. We're referring everything to the DA. So this family is well in tune with what's happening. They know what's on the line here, and they've handled the media and the situation incredibly well to this point.
KING: We'll take a break and be back. Take a lot of your phone calls on this very puzzling matter. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: You know, I'm a human being. I'm a man, just like everybody else. I mourn, I cry, just like everybody else. And you know, I sit here before you guys embarrassed and ashamed for committing adultery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our panel. Going to go to our phone calls and we start with Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Jameika?
KING: Yes, Jameika can here you, go ahead.
CALLER: Jameika, I'm wondering, are you surprised with Kobe to find out how fast he jumped in the sack with the victim?
KING: Apparently just met her that day.
WILLIAMS: Yes. That was a little surprising.
KING: To Elijay, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. I would like to ask your outstanding panel if they were defending Kobe, what would be their defense strategy?
PIXLEY: Well, Larry, you have got two different stories right now. On the prosecution has strong physical evidence and the defense team says in their press conference this past Friday that the physical evidence supports Kobe. If the defense team is correct and as defense attorney I am assuming that they are. IF physical evidence isn't there for the prosecution, I would want to close the loop and start looking that circumstances surrounding this meeting between Kobe and this alleged victim. And one thing that stood out to me in reading the "L.A. Times" was the timeline of events they put together.
The alleged assault reportedly occurred on June 30. That's the night before Kobe was scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery. Now despite assaulting this woman, Larry, he went forward with his surgery and not only did that but came back to the hotel, had dinner at the hotel, reportedly, and this is according to hotel employees, was seen playing chess with his friends that evening. None of these things fit a man who had been engaged in a violent act the night before. And I'm not going to built your case around this, but based on what little we know right now I think that the circumstances surrounding their meeting and what he did thereafter, would be very important to me.
KING: Why, Nancy, did it take the prosecutors so long to bring the case?
GRACE: Well, you know, there's been a split down that. Some people are screaming rush to judgment, others are saying, why did it take so long, a full two weeks. Two weeks is not a long time to bring a formal charge. The victim went immediately to police and to the hospital to endure a rape kit which is an odious task for most women. The charges were then properly channeled through sheriffs office and then taken to the district attorney for a formal charge. Two weeks is about right.
Larry, I have an answer for you. A few weeks -- takes two weeks to examine the DNA evidence, to extract and purify the seminal DNA and compare with Kobe Bryant's and, of course, compare with the victim's. That's a mixture of DNA and, of course, to look at some physical evidence. You need that much time to make a decision.
KING: Tony, how much time did Kobe spent with the sheriff's investigators before calling in his legal team? KOVALESKI: Well, that's one of the big unanswered questions, Larry, is just how much time?
How much did he say to sheriff's deputies, what did he do?
Our understanding -- we learned that early on in the case he was not represented. So, when you got the D.A. on Friday coming forward and saying he not only has testimonial evidence but physical evidence. When I asked him during the news conference which he is more confident in, he is confident in both parts of this. And he believes with both parts he would be able to prove it beyond a reasonable. He was very confident on Friday. The question, how much did Kobe Bryant say before he had legal counsel. That hasn't been answered yet.
KING: Nancy, is that what we mean by testimonial evidence?
GRACE: Absolutely. Physical evidence would for instance be DNA. If she has DNA and this has been rumored. If she has skin or blood that matches Bryant under her nails, that would be physical evidence. And also photos. If the room was (UNINTELLIGIBLE), something like that would be physical evidence. Testimonial clearly what would be testimony. But you know, I was thinking back on what Chris Pixley just said, I read that same report, but I also read other reports, Larry, that said she came down from the room in about 30 minutes, which does not sound like a night of torrid sexual fun to me. Thirty minutes comes down upset and leaves immediately, callings the police the next morning, goes to the hospital. That there was commotion, that other people in the hotel heard commotion. We don't know if any of that is true or any of what Chris read in "L.A. Times" is true. Don't know yet. There's so many conflicting reports, but one thing you really can't fight and that is the DNA evidence, the forensic evidence.
KING: All of this, Jameika, amazing to you?
WILLIAMS: Definitely amazing to me. I'm surprised at this. Like I said before, he made a mistake, but I don't think he would have actually sexually assault this young lady.
KING: Toronto, Canada, hello.
CALLER: I just want it know if Kobe Bryant is going to take a lie detector test as well as the girl who is accusing him.
KING: Chris, is this used in this kind of case?
PIXLEY: It differently can be used in this kind of case, but again I don't think it is something that his counsel will recommend. Don't expect it to be something you will hear about. And again, remember, that a lie detector test isn't going to be admissible in court. While it is very interesting for us to talk about, it will not influence the outcome of the case.
GRACE: It could be. It could be, though, under one circumstance, Chris, and that is if both parties stipulate up front before it is taken that it comes into evidence. That is how a polygraph can come into a criminal case. But I agree with you to the extent that his lawyers may poly him and depending on how it comes out, then they might stipulate for another polygraph that will come before the jury. I don't think it will happen either. I don't think they willingly strap him up to a polygrapher.
KING: Will the prosecutor ask the alleged victim to be polygraphed, Nancy?
GRACE: Definitely. If there is a stipulation that polys are going to com in, I think they would ask the victim...
KING: No, do you think they already asked her?
GRACE: I doubt it. I doubt they have asked her. Because right now if you look at the first posture, Larry, the D.A. came out of the chute and a lot of people say he's a rookie. I disagree, at age 34, if you're a criminal trail lawyer, you already have several criminal trials under your belt. He came out out of the chute and said I'm confident in the physical and testimonial. I will prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. You know, that was pretty bold. I haven't heard much from him since then, but he said it loud and clear.
KING: Mississippi, hello.
CALLER: Maybe I missed something, but why did she go it his room in the first place, was she invited?
KING: That we don't know, right? I don't think anybody knows that.
Do we have an answer on that?
WILLIAMS: That's a very good question.
KOVALESKI: That's one of the unanswered questions. How did she get up there?
Was she invited up there?
Did it have to do with -- one rumor that came out early on was room service. Other pieces of information, we heard she was up there for some sort of tour throughout the hotel. That is one segment we don't know. And the D.A. on Friday said he will not discuss the specifics.
KING: She is a room clerk, right, Tony?
She was a room clerk?
KOVALESKI: She was a front desk clerk, Larry. There was some question if she got off of work at 11:00 at night and she went up to her room. Other people have said she was off actually off work that day. But again, is that really the issue here.
The issue is, was it consensual or not consensual and can it be proven in a court of law?
GRACE: It's an issue. It's an issue Larry. I know you don't to prove the circumstances about how it all went down, but the jury, as a practical matter, is going to want to know, did she dress up in a sequin midriff and go down there at 12:30 a.m. to watch a porn movie or was she on duty that day and did show him around the grounds, as it has been reported. And that when he wanted room service, he asked her to bring it. That's another scenario. So while that's not alleged in the indictment and not an element of proof, it matters to a jury.
KING: And the truth is we all don't know enough yet. We'll be right back with our panel and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: You know, if I could go through the feeling of if I could just turn back the hands of time. I love my wife so much. She's so special to me. But I'm innocent. And together my wife and I and our family, we're going to fight these false accusations.
KING: We're back. Las Vegas, Nevada, hello.
CALLER: Yes. My question is, how does she get up...
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: My question is, how did she get up to the room to see Kobe? I worked in one of the biggest hotels in Las Vegas. When big people come to the hotel, they assign big people to wait on those people. How did this girl get up to see Kobe?
KING: Chris, that's a good question. And also, Kobe has bodyguards, doesn't he?
PIXLEY: That's right, and that's what I was going to say, Larry. That's a very good question because Kobe does have bodyguards with him who, if you are reading the press and believe what you're reading right now, were with Kobe this night while he was there at the Cordiera.
So, you know, I think you have to accept at this point in time, given Kobe's own admissions that she was either invited there or that she came there of her own volition and that he let her in and then things went from there. But at some point she had to have passed his bodyguards, if they're doing their job.
KING: And the mistake here, Nancy, was opening the door, wasn't it?
GRACE: Well, it depends on what side of the door you're on, Larry. I don't know about a mistake on his part, opening the door, or a mistake on her part, going in.
It seems as if by all accounts they agree on one thing. The two had met when he first came in to check in, that apparently there had been a tour of some of the facilities for him to see them and that he had ordered room service. She had just gotten off. The wires suggest that he said, Oh, what about so and so, I know her, have her bring it up and that it went from there. That's the most accurate thing that I can find so far.
KING: Dallas, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: My question is for Nancy.
CALLER: Nancy, first I would like to make it very clear, I feel Kobe is wrong. It's a sin. But, Nancy, as a public figure yourself, don't you feel that people have a tendency to come more at a public figure than just a plain Joe Blow?
GRACE: Yes, I really do. You know, you've got to look at the groupie factor, which the defense is going to allege here. The caller is right on. If the defense can claim that she was star struck, that she was a groupie of some sort, it's over.
Now, the way I look at that as a former prosecutor and victim's rights advocate is -- what? A groupie can't be raped? If she went up there to get his autograph or something and then things went haywire, that's still a rape regardless of why she went there.
But you know, Larry, a jury technically speaking, a jury is going to care why she went there and what the circumstances were.
KING: Yes. And Dr. Lee, they're going to -- it's going to be a lot more than he says/she says, isn't it?
LEE: Yes. Much more. Of course, what time had she reported rape? If she was raped that night, she get out of the room, did she right away complain to the manager or pick up the phone, call the police? Why wait the next day? Of course, the clothing, her clothing become a very crucial piece of physical evidence to conduct a thorough examination. Any blood spatter in the bed sheet, blood stain, all that can be important too.
KING: To Colorado Springs, hello.
CALLER: Yes. My question is, in this situation, how does a jury come to a decision because basically it's a he said/she said situation, no matter what the physical evidence shows. People have -- when they have consensual sex, sometimes it gets rough. And that does happen. And so I'm just trying to figure out in my mind, how does a person come to a decision? KING: Chris, isn't that why we have juries? They examine both sides and come down on one or the other?
PIXLEY: Exactly, and as Dr. Lee said, there will be a good deal of examination, microscopic examination of the evidence in this case and you're going to have experts that are going to try to explain to you what, in fact, it means. But it is very difficult and the caller makes an excellent point in one respect. It's very difficult in a sexual assault case, where the defense is that it was consensual sex to make heads or tails of it, especially if there isn't strong, physical evidence.
KING: Yes. Tony, what's the timeline here? When can we look at trial?
KOVALESKI: Well, everybody I've spoken to, Larry -- let me touch on that one point there. When you talk about he said/she said -- first, D.A. on Friday said he has much more than a he said/she said. He has physical evidence, strong physical evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. What that is, we don't know. But that's the key part that came out on Friday.
On timeline, Kobe Bryant back in Colorado August 6. Experts are telling us you're looking at six to nine months before a trial. Lots of things happening, lots of variables before we have a date.
KING: Thank you. Chicago, hello.
CALLER: Hello. This question is for Jameika.
CALLER: During the time that Jameika was supposedly in a relationship with Kobe, he was involved in a five-year relationship with his high school sweetheart. So 1997, it just doesn't add up. The timing is just off.
KING: Why? Because 1997 is six years ago.
CALLER: Well, no. He just ended the relationship right before he met his wife, Vanessa.
KING: Are you questioning whether Jameika knows him?
CALLER: I don't think that she really knows Kobe. I think that they probably, you know, had some kind of friendship and that was basically it. She met his mom and sister and I don't really think that she's a great character witness at this point.
KING: Jameika, how would you respond?
WILLIAMS: OK. Well, I did know him in 1997 and I wasn't aware of someone in, you know, with a five-year relationship. So I did know Kobe.
KING: When you were dating him, to your knowledge, he wasn't dating anyone else?
WILLIAMS: To my knowledge he wasn't dating anyone else.
KING: Yes, I'll pick right up there Nancy. Let me get a break. We'll be right back and -- with more. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: We have a lot at stake, I have a late at stake. It has nothing to do with endorsements. Nothing at all. You know, this is about us. This is about our family. I've been falsely accused of something. I'm innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: Shoulder to shoulder, we're going to fight this all the way to the end. And I appreciate everybody out there for your support. And we're going to need your support and prayers now more than ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nancy, you were going to say something before I take the next call.
GRACE: Larry, I was going to say, that's what happens when you put up a character witness. At the outset when we were watching Jameika, she knows him so well, she has a glowing report and in one phone call, boom, it's right down the chute when they say something like, well, were you dating him when he had this long-standing relationship with his high school sweetheart and the witness says, what?
There goes the theory that this witness can vouch for credibility, because suddenly the witness is so surprised by so many things about Kobe Bryant.
KING: Assuming it is true.
GRACE: Yes. Assuming that was true.
KING: Houston, Texas, hello.
GRACE: So it's very sticky putting up a credibility witness.
KING: Houston, hello.
CALLER: I'm a big fan of you. I kind of agree with the last caller and question Jameika's agenda on this whole thing. I mean, knowing her two months longer than me, and I have never even meet the guy before. And only being around him when he's around his parents and his family, that just doesn't make sense. There are a lot of guys that act like alter boys around their family and when they are out with the boys all heck breaks loose so...
KING: Never out alone with him?
WILLIAMS: Alone in his home, but not in public or anything. But I still think he's a nice guy. I don't think people change their demeanor just because they are away from home. He has never been the type to go out to clubs or be a public person so...
KING: In fact, he's private in his team.
WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely.
KING: He doesn't mingle a lot with his teammates?
KING: Pueblo, Colorado, hello.
CALLER: My question is for Nancy.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Do you think Kobe Bryant will be found innocent like O.J. Simpson just because he is an athlete?
GRACE: I hate to call it so early without seeing the physical evidence because if the D.A. pulls out evidence like his skin under her fingerprints, a vaginal bruise or a bruise on her arm, that would turn the tide. Just what if she has a bruise on her face, don't know, but what if. But without seeing any of the physical evidence, yet, I would say you're dead on because so far one smear tactic. The press has made this victim to be a pariah. And based on that, I don't see she is getting a fair trial.
KING: Yes, but you don't have a trial in downtown Los Angeles.
GRACE: Yes, you're right, we have a trial in Eagle, Colorado, that looks like it will probably be moved.
KING: San Mateo, California, hello.
CALLER: My question is for both Nancy and Chris. Wouldn't it be a fairly desperate defense attorney that would bring someone like Jameika Williams to the stand as a character witness, who as the previous caller stated, knew Kobe for less than two months and is obviously in it for her own gain at this point.
KING: How does Jameika gain?
CALLER: Just being in public, interviews with magazines, newspapers, et cetera.
WILLIAMS: And what am I gaining? CALLER: Well, obviously, your trying to gaining some type of fame perhaps to better your future law career.
KING: OK, Chris, you want to respond.
PIXLEY: Well. It's a difficult question to respond to. I don't think it's a desperate move to use character witnesses. Again, Nancy has made an excellent point that if Kobe's character is put on trial here and if Kobe is put on the stand, then bad character evidence will be brought in, as well. I think we have yet to see in all of his time in the public over the past six, seven years any real bad character evidence come out. And there haven't been people yet, and I know we're very early in this case, but there hasn't been any people yet stepping forward to say, yes, Kobe Bryant, I had that type of experience with him before. That matters. That matters.
KING: Pleasanton, California, one more call. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. My question is for Nancy.
How old is the victim and does he have any children?
KING: Kobe has an infant.
GRACE: She is 19 and he has got one child I think is about 6- months-old, a little girl.
KING: She is 19, right.
GRACE: He's 24.
PIXLEY: And, Larry, everyone she be reminded, he is 24. Exactly, he is just 24. They're really not that far apart in age.
KING: Tony, is there a rush to judgment here, you think?
KOVALESKI: You know that's been one of the focus over the weekend, Larry, and I don't think so and here's why.
When you take a look at the facts, the D.A. of Eagle County said he would have the announcement by four, five days after his initial news conference. He actually took two weeks and our investigative unit learned on Friday that he consulted with the attorney general in Colorado, he consulted with the district attorney for the largest city, Denver, two and a half hour meeting there. So, a rush to judgment, I don't think so here.
KING: Thank you all very much, we will be calling on you again. Thank you, Jameika, for coming forward.
WILLIAMS: Thank you. Thank you.
KING: Good luck with your law career as well.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Get all this publicity it's going to make you a famous lawyer.
Tony Kovaleski, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Dr. Henry Lee and Jameika Williams, we thank them all for being with us. We thank you for participating by phone. When we come back, I'll tell you about a great show coming up tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: We have quite an edition of LARRY KING LIVE tomorrow night. Bob Dole, Senator Bob Dole, former presidential candidate, former chairmen of his party in the Senate, will be our special guest. Bob Dole turns 80-years-old tomorrow and a lot of very special Americans will be participating in the show you won't want to miss it.
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