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Interview With Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, Lisa Bloom

Aired August 4, 2003 - 19:41   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There are a lot of reports out there concerning this case, but we are not going talk about them unless CNN has confirmed them. We want to be very responsible about this. And we're simply just not going to go down that road.
Doesn't mean there isn't still plenty to talk about with this case, though. For one thing, Bryant referred to Martin Luther King during his teen choice speech on Saturday, raising the question, how much of a factor will issues of race play into this trial?

We have Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom with us here on the set and San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. I appreciate both of you being with us.

Lisa, let me start off with you. A, were you surprised to see Kobe Bryant show up at the teen choice awards and to hear him quoting Martin Luther King? What's behind it?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: I wasn't surprised to see him showing up with his wife, their hands clasped together. That's clearly going to be their public position during the rest of this case. I was very surprised to see him quoting Martin Luther King Jr., "an injustice against one is an injustice against all," especially at the teen choice awards. That seemed so clearly orchestrated by his PR handlers.

COOPER: You also pointed out wearing -- both of them wearing large religious...

BLOOM: Both of them wearing large crosses around their necks. I tell you, nothing is an accident in these public appearances. Not what they're wearing, no what they say.

COOPER: And Kimberly, what is significant about this is this thing -- this awards ceremony, which I frankly never heard of before, but I guess it is going to air on Wednesday, the same day Kobe Bryant is going to show up on television across the country in court.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, ASSISTANT DA, SAN FRANCISCO: Yes, that's correct. And, again, I just wonder who is advising him to do these things? I mean, earlier we had reports that Pamela Mackey was, in fact, displeased when he showed up at the Espy Awards. One would think that he might be better suited focusing on his court appearance this Wednesday. He is going to be advised of the charges against him, and it is a forcible sex crime, a rape in this case. It just doesn't seem like a smart move to be out there. Making these kinds of statements, as seen to be just basically in his own self-interest. And then, again, wearing a bracelet, I think that said "I love Vanessa" on it, the name of his wife, just curious, he seems to want to make many public appearances, except the one that he's mandated to make by law in court on Wednesday.

COOPER: Lisa, how much, I mean, bottom line, do you think race is going to become a factor in this trial? I bring this up not only because of this quoting of Martin Luther King, but also there was this racial profiling case in 1995 that the Eagle County Sheriff's Office settled, $800,000 or so with, a number of claimants. Is that going to come up in court?

BLOOM: Well, I think it will, because one of the key investigators in the Kobe Bryant case was caught up in that racial profiling issue in Eagle County. And I would be very surprised if the defense didn't bring that up. That is something that they have to work with. But this is different than other cases where we have seen the race card played, like the O.J. Simpson case, for example. This is not a whodunit. We know that Kobe was in that hotel room with the accuser. So it's not a question of who did it. It is a question of what happened in that hotel room. So I think race is less of a factor.

COOPER: Kimberly, where do you think it is going to appear, in the selection of the jury, in a move for a different venue, or in the trial itself?

NEWSOM: I think you're going to see it in all three areas that you just mentioned. I mean, right away, we have seen it from the beginning of this case that there was sort of the tone of, is this a rush to judgment, similar like shades of the O.J. Simpson case, and that the police department did not work directly with the D.A.'s office. They right away went and sought an arrest warrant for Kobe Bryant, had him arrested. We'll see it the composition here, in Eagle County less than 1 percent African-American, and in fact they will try and bring it up, suggesting there was some kind of bias or racial profiling here with Kobe.

COOPER: Kimberly, I understand you think -- or there is a possibility that the alleged victim in this may try to make some sort of a settlement?

NEWSOM: I think it is definitely a possibility. It is not uncommon in sexual assault and domestic violence cases for victims to recant or in fact to be non-cooperative and decide to not proceed forward. Again, even if she didn't want to proceed, the DA would not be obligated to dismiss the charges, but if she reached some kind of civil settlement with Kobe Bryant, that is going to gut the DA's case, and it will make it very difficult to go forward in this case.

BLOOM: Kimberly, but she hasn't filed any civil charges. She hasn't asked for...

NEWSOM: That doesn't matter.

BLOOM: It does matter, because it would be unethical for an attorney on her behalf to settle a criminal case by payment of money in a civil case. That just can't be done in Colorado or anywhere else. That would be unethical for her attorneys to participate in that.

NEWSOM: Well, it can happen. And I wouldn't be surprised. There is discussion of that in this case. I think that if they're going to do it, they would be better off trying to do something like that on Kobe Bryant's behalf prior to his arraignment, because once he stands up in front of the world and gets arraigned on those charges, I think that's just the beginning of the end for him in this case.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks very much. And Lisa Bloom as well. Thank you.


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