CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses Kobe Bryant's Court Apperance
Aired August 6, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Kobe Bryant, for the first time inside the courtroom, where his fate will be determined, and where he heard a surprise announcement from the judge today. Will this superstar athlete, millionaire, husband and father be found guilty of sexual assault? Will his name be cleared? Race, sex, money, celebrity all on the table.
Joining us for the latest, exclusively from the Eagle County, Colorado, District Attorney's Office, Krista Flannigan.
In Eagle County, Tony Kovaleski of KMGH. He's been on top of the story from day one.
Court TV and former prosecutor Nancy Grace.
Defense attorney Chris Pixley.
And clinical psychologist and frequent Court TV commentator, Dr. Robi Ludwig.
Plus, Katie Lovell, misidentified on the Internet as Kobe Bryant's accuser.
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Krista Flannigan, the public information officer for the Eagle County District Attorney's Office. Were you surprised, Krista, that judge -- was the district attorney surprised that the judge has ordered an investigation into leaks?
KRISTA FLANNIGAN, EAGLE CO. DISTRICT ATTY.'S OFFICE: No, not at all.
The defense had filed a motion to investigate a possible violation of the judge's order regarding pretrial publicity. And when the judge asked for an investigation of that, we were not surprised.
KING: And are you fairly confident that no one in your office is guilty of leaking?
FLANNIGAN: The district attorney believes that he has a very loyal staff with -- that's very professional and has a lot of integrity.
KING: What is his -- is his feeling still as strong as it was when he made the announcement about this case? FLANNIGAN: The district attorney believes that he has enough evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt.
KING: Is he happy with the extension of the preliminary hearing to October?
FLANNIGAN: The -- the timing for the preliminary hearing, the change, the extension is really not significant. It's very common for the attorneys and the judge to work together to find something that works in everyone's calendar.
KING: And a couple of other quick things, Krista. Has he had frequent dealings with the victim?
FLANNIGAN: Are you talking about the district attorney?
FLANNIGAN: Yes. The district attorney has interviewed the victim, yes.
KING: I mean frequently?
FLANNIGAN: He's done it as much as has been necessary. Not too frequently, no.
KING: And finally, is he still getting threats?
FLANNIGAN: The threats are still being investigated at this time.
KING: I mean, are they still coming in? Is he still being threatened?
FLANNIGAN: I can't comment on that.
KING: All right. Thank you, Krista. Krista Flannigan, the public information officer for the Eagle County District Attorney's office.
Joining us now in Eagle County is Tony Kovaleski.
In New York, Nancy Grace.
In Atlanta, Chris Pixley.
And in New York, Dr. Robi Ludwig.
What was it like there today, Tony?
TONY KOVALESKI, KMGH TV: Larry, it was a very interesting courtroom today as we just stepped in to talk to you. We were inside. It was almost surreal when you were in there because the crowd -- there was the public, about 26 seats. The media, the courtroom was packed. But also there, court employees in the jury section and it was -- it was a courtroom packed to see Kobe Bryant's superstar status.
Nancy Grace, was this an important day or not?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Yes, it was a very important date because we saw -- we, the American public -- saw that someone, no matter how great, even an icon, a sports icon -- no matter how much money you have, no matter how beloved you are, are not above the law. The defense in this case, asked the judge to waive his appearance and what is commonly known as an arraignment here, an advisement, where he has the opportunity to have his charges formally read to him, the judge in this case said no. Kobe Bryant, of course, did what the judge asked and came in. He said two words, Larry: no, sir. I thought his demeanor was perfect for the defense.
On the other hand, what was very disturbing to me, as you know as a crime victim, Larry, was when Kobe Bryant left that courthouse, I wonder how the alleged rape victim felt when she heard crowds cheering for Kobe Bryant.
KING: Well, that of course, you and I and she can't control. That's the nature of the beast.
KING: Chris Pixley, what did you make of the fact that the defense asked for and the judge acquiesced and ordered an investigation into leaks?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Think it's the right thing to do, Larry, for the judge to look into it. I actually was a bit surprised that both sides stipulated, the prosecution and the defense, to the appointment of a special investigator. You know it's awfully early in the case and we're only talking about a decorum order.
On the other hand, the judge made it clear today in the court himself that the press releases that have been coming out lately seem to definitely contain information of the kind that could only be coming from the police investigation. Now, maybe they're going to find out through the special investigator that came from elsewhere, maybe from witnesses or someone who's not subject to the decorum order. But given the last few days' press releases, I think it was the right thing to do.
KING: And Dr. Ludwig, are you surprised at all about the attention this is getting everywhere?
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Not at all.
It's very much like reality TV. It has celebrity. It has money, sex, violence. It has all of the intrigue and also there's a little bit of mystery because we don't really know who the true victim is. So the voyeur -- the voyeur in all of us very curious and perhaps there's a little sadism, as well. You know, kind of the wish to see this hero fall from grace. That's always an element.
KING: Tony, were the crowds there today? Nancy, were they supportive of Kobe?
GRACE: To me, Larry, they seemed very, very supportive.
KING: No, I'm asking Tony. He was there.
KING: Is Tony there? OK, we've got a breakout with Tony. I'll take a break and come right back with more of our panel. We'll be including your calls later.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE FRED GANNETT, EAGLE CO., COLORADO: Mr. Bryant, you're entitled to a hearing and a custody hearing. The rule requires that if you request that hearing to be held within 30 days. Any objection to that being waived?
KOBE BRYANT, NBA PLAYER: No, sir.
GANNETT: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nancy Grace, is one of the problems in all of this -- and all of the media we're in on it -- is we don't know the victim and we don't know what happened in the room and we don't know what the charges are? All of this is supposition.
GRACE: Yes, it really is, Larry. A few things we do know. We do know that the D.A. thought enough of this case to go forward...
GRACE: ...with a felony indictment.
GRACE: Right, and we've heard things sifting down. We've learned a lot today in the courtroom.
Also, regarding this special investigator that the judge named, Judge Frank, very interesting back story on the judge. He named the sheriff's department in Pickton County, the special investigator. Well, he actually was a sheriff, Larry in Pickton County for many years that is his background.
KING: The question was, we know so little about all this. All of the discussion is supposition, right? We don't know what happened.
GRACE: Larry, every discussion of a case prior to a witness taking the stand is supposition. We won't know the actual facts until a witness is on the stand and even then -- they'll be subject to cause.
KING: We don't even know the charges.
GRACE: We do know the charge.
KING: We know the charge, we don't know what they're saying happened, right.
GRACE: As a matter of fact, there was a trend recently across this country to get rid of rape charges. Now they're called sexual assault charges. For all we know, this could be a typical rape case or even a sodomy case. We won't know until the facts are brought forth from the witness stand.
KING: Chris Pixley does, that make it difficult, while we talk about it, difficult to talk about?
PIXLEY: It makes it impossible to talk about it in a truly intelligent way and of course, unfortunately, Larry, as you know it doesn't stop the media from covering it. We do get good pieces of information here and there about what everyone acknowledges went on. And of course we do know, there's been an acknowledgement that there is a consensual sexual engagement between these two parties by Kobe Bryant's defense team. Now there are reports, again, questions about the veracity of all of the reports that are coming out, but reports that at least this initial contact between the two was consensual.
And then there may be some disagreement about whether the consent was withdrawn. But, Larry, it's almost impossible to talk about these cases without having had a preliminary hearing. And the sad reality is we also even banned the discussion about the legal proceedings. I have to disagree with something Nancy said earlier when she said look, Kobe Bryant is being held at same standard everyone else is held to. That's not the case. Kobe was advised to be at a criminal advisement, today, despite the fact that he is an out of state witness.
The fact of the matter is many, many out of state witnesses ask to waive their appearance and are given the right to waive that appearance. In this particular case, he wasn't given that right and the fact remains that the media has played it, Larry, as though Kobe didn't want to show up because he was too good for this hearing. He's too big for that hearing. I don't think that's the case at all.
GRACE: His defense team did ask for him to not show up. That was a formal request by the defense. And I don't know where you're trying cases, Chris, but most of the time, criminal defendants are required to be in court when they have a felony charge pending against them. In fact, it is a privilege to have a bond, especially a low bond such as this, $25,000 is extremely low in a rape case.
PIXLEY: I -- I just disagree. That's not the case.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, is it possible this is all hypothetical. Again, all we have is reports and this is fragments. Is it possible to consent to sex and then be raped? LUDWIG: Well, it depends when no was stated. So it is possible to say yes to a date. Yes to kissing. Yes to some form of sexual engagement, but at any point that a woman says no that should be honored and respected. Now, that what's not clear is if she did say no. That's not clear. It was also not clear is if she just perceived something happened that she didn't want to happen because again, we don't know anything about her. We don't know about her mental state, so there's a lot of guessing here.
KING: I mean, hypothetically supposing two people engaged in sex and one of the partners gets rough, could that lead to a criminal charge?
LUDWIG: It seems so. Again, the woman has the right to say no at any point. And then the man, if a woman says no, should be honoring that and if that doesn't take place, that seems to meet the requirements of sexual assault. That wasn't always the case.
KING: When the woman says stop, means stop. When the woman means no, means no.
LUDWIG: Right. No means no at any point, but no has to be stated.
KING: Tony, I asked this earlier and then we had a mixup in connection. Was that was crowd there today supportive of Kobe?
KOVALESKI: No doubt, Larry. They a applauded on the way into the courtroom. They applauded on the way out. Inside the courtroom it was amazing. He walked in people stood up. He was the focus of everybody in Eagle Colorado, the minute he arrived in the courthouse to the minute he left and got in his car to fly back to Los Angeles.
KING: Nancy, does that make it difficult to prosecute someone like this or not?
GRACE: You're darn right, Larry. And I'm not saying Kobe is innocent or guilty. I have no comment regarding that right now until I hear some forensic evidence, until I see the scientific report from the crime lab, then I can make up my mind. But I can tell you right now, very big hurdle for the state because this is a beloved guy. People all across this country have invited Kobe Bryant into their home on several times a week during the basketball season. He's on out of basketball season endorsing very popular products. Advertisers stand behind him, the NBA stands behind him. Kids look up to him and I can tell you, all that money aside, when somebody walks into the courtroom and people spontaneously stand up, the prosecution has a problem. I'm just telling you bluntly, they've got a problem.
KING: Chris, therefore, does the defense have an edge?
PIXLEY: I don't know that the defense has an edge, Larry. The reality is that this defense team probably still will seek a change of venue in this case for the very reason that this is a small, intimate community.
GRACE: How can you say, he doesn't have an edge?
KING: Let him answer. I am asking -- we just asked him, Nancy, let him answer.
PIXLEY: ... is a particular problem. You have got less than 1 percent of the community that is African-American. It doesn't mean that this community being one that has a strong tourism industry doesn't come in contact with people of every race, creed and color and I'm not so sure that a change of venue will occur. But that can be stacked against celebrity defendant in a case like this where he's outside his home base and he is against an accuser who is well known in the community. You have 40,000 people in this entire county and everyone knows someone that knows the accuser.
KING: Let me get a break and come back with our panel. We'll be taking your phone calls as well. Later we'll made Katie Lovell, the miss identified person. She was identified as Kobe Bryant's accuser on the Internet. It ain't her. Don't go away.
KING: Our panel is now complete. Joining us is Pat O'Brien, co- anchor of "Access Hollywood." Formerly a great sports reporter, by the way, covered this story from a lot of angles.
In Eagle, Colorado, is Tony Kovaleski of KMGH TV. In New York is Nancy Grace, the anchor of "Closing Arguments" for Court TV. In Atlanta, the well known defense attorney Chris Pixley and, In New York is Dr. Robbie Ludwig, clinical psychologist, frequent commentator on Court TV.
A couple of quick questions for Pat and the then we'll all get into it. The reason Pat is late is, he was over at NBC Burbank covering the Schwarzenegger surprise.
PAT O'BRIEN, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD: Big surprise. I think everybody was surprised, even some of the people in his camp, Larry, could not believe that he said he was going to run for governor. They did not know. They sat in the dressing room, you could hear excitement all over.
KING: People with him didn't know.
O'BRIEN: A couple of people who worked with him did not know. He walked right out there and gave a political speech and said that's why I'm running for the great state of California.
KING: So he did it immediately.
O'BRIEN: Right off the top.
KING: The first question. O'BRIEN: Well, he made a little joke, which I won't spoil because Jay hasn't been on yet, then he went right on into it. He made a speech. He ripped Gray Davis. He admitted he'll come at him on issues and he's ready for the fight.
KING: Now, the subject at hand. You know Kobe.
KING: You've covered him as a journalist, right?
O'BRIEN: Yes, from the beginning.
KING: What do you make of all this?
O'BRIEN: I think that the thing with Kobe, and everybody on the panel probably agrees, is that this is not the Kobe Bryant that we all thought was there. I mean, this was a shock to begin with. I know when I heard the news, I yelled out to my wife oh, no, how can this be. I think everybody had that reaction.
Not a lot of athletes that, these days, get cut that kind of slack. The reason Kobe has is because he's had a clean record. He's done nothing wrong. Squeaky clean is the words being used for him. So it's a huge shock this whole thing.
And I think, the other thing that surprised me about it, was today. The story all along was here we have this outsider, this African-American from Los Angeles, big superstar, coming in this little town and it was a little town. I don't know who those people were but when he walked out of the courtroom, that was Kobe Bryant's moment.
KING: Nancy pointed that out. Now Tony, I understand you spoke to the judge about why Kobe was asked to appear. Can you enlighten us?
KOVALESKI: I did, Larry. This idea that Kobe Bryant is being treated unfairly because he had to appear is simply not true. Judge Gannett said, days before the filing was even put in place I asked him will Kobe Bryant have to attend this advisory hearing? He said yes, he said it's highly unlikely that he would waive such an appearance. He says the only time he would do that is if travel was a difficulty or health was an issue and clearly, in this case it wasn't the issue. That's why it was here.
He said it was important for Kobe Bryant. He said it was important for the court and it's where the process begins and it began here today.
KING: Pat, you know the public. To get you up-to-date. Nancy Grace said it's going to be hard to prosecute someone as popular as Kobe. Do you agree?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I think it will be. I think that if he conducts himself like he did today, as we look at that footage right there. There he is. He's straight forward. He's in there. He's going to stick to his grounds. Tonight he's on a TV show. He's with his wife and getting an award and again, here's a guy who's had no strikes against him up until now.
KING: What do you make, Dr. Ludwig, of him going to that teen award show which will be aired tonight.
LUDWIG: Well, clearly, his advisers are advising him and I think correctly so. Go, live your life. Show that you and your wife are a solid team and support one another. His demeanor was somber and again, it showed that he is still part of the Hollywood A-list. That he is still included and getting support and I think that's very important for people to see right now.
KING: Is that frustrating prosecutorally (ph), Nancy?
GRACE; Well, on the outset I would say yes because it's continuing a very high profile and likable profile. But if you listen carefully to his speech there at the "Teen Choice Awards." I predict the prosecutor may very well use his words against him.
When Kobe Bryant quoted the late and great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said "an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere" and I could see those words ringing out in the prosecution's closing argument against Kobe Bryant.
KING: Chris, the key will be here do you think, the testimony of the victim?
PIXLEY: I think the testimony of this victim is going to be key unless we learn at the preliminary hearing or at some point later on prior to the trial that there is very solid, physical evidence that proves that Kobe Bryant did actually use force to cause this person to submit to his will. Right now we don't know if that evidence is there and that means that we put all of the scientific evidence aside and we ask ourselves how is she likely to stack up against Kobe Bryant.
And I do agree with Nancy and what she says about the difficulty of trying a case against Kobe. I don't know that Eagle County is where I would want it tried if I was his defense counsel, but Kobe will stack up well, I think, against any accuser. So it will be very important that she has a compelling story.
KING: Pat, a lot of stories circulating that Kobe is not popular among his teammates. He's a loner.
O'BRIEN: I don't think that is true. I've heard those stories, too. I think the story more is that he's more aloof than his other teammates. That he doesn't hang out with them a lot. He doesn't go to the clubs with them. He doesn't talk on the cell phone.
KING: Taking that into effect, will an aloof attitude affect him in the courtroom, if that's an attitude?
O'BRIEN: I think an aloof attitude affects anyone in the court of law. I think that's just part of the deal. One the decisions Kobe's got to make is how he's going to approach this season. He's got this court date in early October, the season begins 15, 20 days...
KING: That's 2 days before they have an exhibition game
O'BRIEN: And then he's out there in the public again and he's going to have 29 cities he's got to go to and he's going to be story A in every city, every place he goes. I said this earlier today, sports fans as you know, are brutal and they're going to have signs and yelling stuff. And athletes have thick skin and I'm sure he does, but that's going to be an interesting October for him.
KING: The Lakers train in Hawaii, do they not? They will have enormous press coverage at the workouts?
O'BRIEN: Everywhere they go. I mean, LeBron who? Right now when this basketball season starts.
KING: And the crowds will be immense at all Lakers games.
O'BRIEN: Their they will be all there. There will be number 8 jerseys. They'll be cheering at Laker games. But you are right, the media pressure of this will be bigger than anything we've ever seen including the O.J. trial.
KING: Including the O.J. trial.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I think that because the subject of this trial, not demeaning the two people who were murdered...
KING: That was murder.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I know. I understand that. But because of the testimony of that trial was more about DNA and evidence that we didn't see and these long speeches by experts. This trial is about a subject that's , you know...
KING: And the victim can speak.
KING: The alleged victim can speak.
KING: And Kobe is a current athlete.
O'BRIEN: And again. I am not comparing the two trials. Two people were murdered.
KING: You just think the attention on this will be as enormous, if not more so.
O'BRIEN: I do. We've already seen it.
KING: All right we're going to take a break. When we come back we'll include your phone calls. Later on Katie Lovell will join us, the young lady who was misidentified as Kobe Bryant's accuser on the Internet.
We are with Pay O'Brien, Tony Kovaleski, Nancy Grace and Chris Pixley and Dr. Robbie Ludwig. We'll include your phone calls right after these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: I'm innocent, you know. I didn't force her to do anything against her will. I'm innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tabloids, of course, having a field day with this story, as is everybody else. And we're going to go to your phone calls.
But first, Pat, I know -- I know Kobe's father, Joe, flew with him on the airplane. It was true that he didn't like the idea that he got married?
O'BRIEN: There was some -- I'm not that close to that family. But there was some discussion that he didn't like Vanessa and that they separated on that.
KING: Are they close now?
O'BRIEN: Yes, they're back together now.
KING: Los Angeles, hello?
CALLER: Hi. I would like to ask the panel a question. Will race play a part in the case in any -- in any way?
KING: Tony, you think so?
KOVALESKI: You know, Larry, I don't. We've talked to a lot of people-- I've asked that question to Eagle in the past few weeks and, no, I don't see it as playing any kind of role as we move forward, whether it's here in Eagle or anywhere in Colorado.
KING: Does anyone think so? Nancy, you think so?
GRACE: No, I don't. Often I would say it could, especially when you cannot get a jury that mirrors either your defendant or your victim. That's never good for either side. But in this case, I think money will transcend any race issue.
You know, there's such a thing as rich man's justice, Larry.
PIXLEY: Well, I think that Kobe transcends all races. He's popular with, you know, I think, every demographic and that may be the reason why race isn't necessary as a defense in this case and why it won't be raised. You know, it is a little disturbing that Kobe could potentially be tried in a count that basically doesn't have any black jurors, but I think again, Kobe is so well liked that Tony is probably correct in saying it won't hurt his chances at trial.
KING: Dr. Ludwig?
LUDWIG: I'm in agreement with the rest of the panel that his celebrity status will certainly overshadow his race, and also because he's achieved the extraordinary. People identify with him and want to identify with him and he's liked. So again, it's going to be very hard for the prosecution.
KING: Pat, do you think race will play a part?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I'd like to think that race doesn't play a part in anything we do in this country. But let's face it, we have an African-American man and a 19-year-old white woman in a court of law talking about sexual, you know, matters and I don't know how -- no one's going to say it, but...
KING: Let's ask it this way. What if it were a white prominent athlete and a black female?
O'BRIEN: I think it makes a difference.
KING: Ashtabula, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Hello, how are you?
CALLER: Several times Nancy Grace, I've heard her make the comment about the possibility of DNA or skin or blood being found under the alleged victim's fingernails, that this could possibly be evidence against him. But what I want to know that -- isn't it possible that two consenting adults while they're in the throes of passion that they could end up with skin under her partner or skin from her partner under her fingernails? So how would this constitute evidence against Kobe? In the same...
KING: Good question.
GRACE: Yes. The viewer is correct. Given the right phraseology, the defense may be forced to argue a long way away from where Kobe Bryant started when he first allegedly told police there was no sex. Nothing happened. Then it morphed into, OK, I didn't rape her, but there was adultery. There was sex to, rough sex.
KING: No, but the question was you can -- you can have skin under a fingernail and not be raped.
GRACE: Right. That is partially what I think the question was. What I'm saying in order to argue that to a jury, the defense will have to morph into rough sex. I think that makes it more difficult for the defense to argue a 19-year-old girl, a woman, agreed to rough sex, which would entail, we have heard from wire reports, bruises, scratches, skin under fingernails. We'll have to see if all that materializes, but that's a much harder road to hoe for the defense.
KING: Guelth, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is for the panel. I'm just wondering if there's anything in the pretrial that could possibly prevent the actual trial from going forward?
KING: All right. Chris, what could throw this case out?
PIXLEY: Well, you still are going to have a preliminary hearing. We heard today that the defense is going to exercise their right to a preliminary hearing. They waved time on it, so it's not going to go forward until October 9.
We've discussed this in the past. The threshold to get past the preliminary hearing and get the case bound over to a trial is very low. it's simply probable cause, not even a term that's defined in the Fourth Amendment. So we don't have to see a lot from the prosecution at the preliminary hear for the case to go forward, but there are cases where a prosecution team doesn't put together enough evidence to get their case moved on to trial and it gets dismissed by a judge. I don't see that happening here.
KING: What happens if the alleged victim backs off?
PIXLEY: It makes the case virtually impossible for the prosecution to pursue if they haven't already had the preliminary hearing. If they get her testimony during the preliminary hearing, for example, Larry, and they can use that testimony later on, then they can actually impeach the witness with it, the accuser, if she decides to recant.
O'BRIEN: Can she back off, though? I don't want even know. I mean, can she...
O'BRIEN: They can force her to testify, right?
GRACE: Well, yes. Under a subpoena, she would be forced to testify. But practically speaking, if your victim backs off her testimony or recants, or if is evidence brought forward at a preliminary hearing suggesting she has recanted to someone else, is called impeaching her testimony. A prior inconsistent statement where she said, You know what? This didn't happen. I'm just in it for the money. Yes, I could see a case getting dropped. Do I think it will happen? No.
KING: Raleigh, North Carolina, hello.
CALLER: We've heard from her friends. But what about her family? Is there any reports on their reaction and how they're handling the fact of such a young -- I mean, she's practically a child. KING: Tony?
KOVALESKI: Larry, I've had several conversations with the alleged victim's father. He's been very open in coming out and talking and saying I don't want to comment about the issue. But he's handled the media well. He's not saying anything, but clearly he's communicating that they are there. When the time is right, she will talk and that's probably going to be if and when there's a trial.
But no real reaction from the father. The mother not saying a whole lot to anybody at this point. Dad taking the lead. He's come out of the frontyard. He's come out with the dogs. It's the all- American family, but they're not saying a lot.
KING: We'll go to a break showing you newspaper headlines reacting to all of this and we'll be back with more calls.
KING: We're back with our panel.
Before we continue with hone calls, you made an interesting comment, Pat. This story grows, right? Without adding more evidence, it just keeps growing.
O'BRIEN: With only speculation, it grows. I've never seen a story, Larry, grow as exponentially as this one each and every day.
We had dinner -- I'm sure you have breakfast every morning. That's all you talk about. I had dinner the other night with some people and for four and a half hours that's anybody talked about.
KING: I know. It's all Kobe, all of the time.
Woodland Hills, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Nancy.
CALLER: Why is it wrong for fans to cheer for Kobe when he is presumed innocent?
GRACE: I don't think it's wrong for fans to cheer for Kobe, if my mind and this is a moral judgment and I sure don't have a leg to stand on. I don't want anyone for throwing a stone at me for how I live my life. I don't want to have anyone throw a stone at me for the way I live my life. This is a proceeding for an alleged rape victim, A 19-year-old girl. And I would say, sure, cheer your heart out on the basketball court, but right now we don't know what the facts are. There's a potential rape victim out there watching this. And having dealt with many, many rape victims, it's very, very disturbing that the cheer went up outside the courthouse. That's just my take on it.
KING: What is your take, Pat? O'BRIEN: Think that his advisors have obviously said to him. You have to go about your life at some point. You are still innocent until proven guilty. And you can't bunker down in your house for this amount of time.
KING: The crowd reaction -- do you think Nancy has a point, though, that wasn't the setting for it.
O'BRIEN: No. I was surprised by that, to be honest with you. And the purple and gold balloons and the cars and stuff. I mean, come on.
KING: Lancaster, Kentucky, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, thank you for having me. My question to the panel. I was wondering why the alleged victim past suicidal attempts, it's allegedly I suppose, would have anything to do with what allegedly happened to her with Kobe Bryant?
KING: The same, Dr. Ludwig, is whether there were 911 calls from Kobe's house.
What does that have to do with the crime?
LUDWIG: I think we're trying to assess and appropriately so this woman's character and mental state. And if she has a mood disorder, is depressed or has some type of personality disorder where she's inclined to misperceive events, we should know that. So anything about her history would be important in terms of making an assessment about who this person is and how reliable are her statements.
KING: Can you ask her, literally, Nancy, anything when she takes the stand?
GRACE: Absolutely not. And there are strict guidelines as to what is going to happen here. No. 1, the rape shield law which is in effect in practically all 50 states says her prior sex life if any, cannot come into evidence. To suggest she sleeps around so this didn't happen. Not going to happen. Now, As to any alleged prior suicide attempts or 911 calls. There is a doctor patient privilege that protects that. It will be given to the judge. The judge will look at that time and if it touches on her credibility at that point, it will come into evidence on cross exam other than that, everything else is pretty much fair game.
KING: Well said.
O'BRIEN: Doesn't it get out into the jury pool, though?
Now we're -- we're tainting the jury pool with this information, it's in the back of their minds.
GRACE: That's at trial time. That's at trial time after you've got a jury. KING: Chattanooga, Tennessee hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question is for Nancy. And I just want to thank you, Nancy, for being a voice for the victim. I think you're great. My question is if during the preliminary hearing, what is the likelihood that the victim will testify. And if you were the prosecutor, prosecuting this case, based on the information that we know now, would you put her on the stand or you know, have her testify?
KING: What part does she play in the rehearing?
GRACE: No, excellent question, no. 1. A huge question of strategy. We always want to know does the defendant take the stand? Same thing for the victim at trial. She's got to at preliminary. No way would I put her on the stand and let her get barbecued before it was necessary. You can count on a real barbecue going on at trial on cross exam. That's what the defense is going to do, but not at prelim.
KING: At prelim, Chris, all you have to show the judge is what, a bona fide case?
PIXLEY: That's right. That's right. You just have to show probable cause that Kobe Bryant in fact committed this crime. That the crime did in fact occur. Very low threshold. And they can put up witnesses that give testimony that wouldn't be actually admissible in trial. So they don't need to put the accuser on the stand. Again, though, if they have reason to believe that she may not be able to hold out until the trial, that she's possibly waffling in her decision to go forward, that might be in my mind the only reason that they would put her on the stand.
KING: Tony, what's the media going to do now for two months?
KOVALESKI: It will be interesting to watch, Larry as the pictures change. We, for the past three weeks, we've watched that conference from July 18, with Kobe and his wife and the tears. Now you're going to see pictures of Kobe walking in and out of a courtroom. You are going to see pictures of Kobe standing in front of a judge. So that has changed. I think it was an interesting, fascinating part of today's hearing, how Kobe's defense team elected to orchestrate it. You didn't have the wife come to Eagle Colorado. He was there by him self, dressed somewhat casually, spoke very little in the courtroom. That would be the focus. And clearly, you'll be hearing more and more information as the timeline gets verified, as more information comes out, but the gag order will be a question mark. How much that will stop the reporting?
KING: And we'll be discussing it a lot, right?
O'BRIEN: Well, tomorrow it will be all about Arnold Schwarzenegger.
KING: More Kobe. Last call, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, hello.
CALLER: Hello, good evening, Larry.
CALLER: This question is for your panel. What does the prosecution have to prove or show do during the preliminary hearing in order for this to go to trial.
KING: What do they -- quickly, Nancy, what did they have to show?
GRACE: It's called a prima facia case, a bone bare case, that there's probable cause to believe a rape happened. And Larry, you asked what else will we see to trial for to months. I'm waiting to see the matching necklace and earrings to go with that $4 million diamond ring Kobe Bryant bought his wife.
KING: Pat, thanks for coming by.
I'll be seeing a lot of you. Kobe all the time. You're going to vacation, right?
O'BRIEN: In a couple of weeks.
KING: And Tony, thank you. And Dr. Ludwig, thank you. Nancy Grace and Chris Pixley will remain with us. We'll be joined by Katie Lovell and her attorney. She's the girl misidentified as the accuser on the Internet. Don't go away.
KING: Nancy Grace and Chris Pixley remain with us. Joining us from Eagle, Colorado is Katie Lovell, misidentified as Kobe Bryant's accuser on the Internet. And with her is Sienna Larene, the attorney for Katie Lovell.
How did you come to be?
What happened, Katie?
KATIE LOVELL, MISIDENTIFIED AS BRYANT ACCUSER ON THE INTERNET: Well it all started with one of my friends was in a chat room. And they were talking about the Kobe Bryant case. And they were passing a picture back and forth to everybody of the supposedly -- of the accuser of the girl. And when it came up on one of my friend's computer screen, it wasn't of the real accuser, the picture was of me.
KING: What out legally does she have, Sienna?
SIENNA LARENE, ATTORNEY: Well, actually the state of the law today, there are five things she can do, and in about four seconds I can tell you. She can her have parents write letters to the Internet that will be ignored. She can have her lawyer write cease and desist lawyers (sic). Lawyer will be told that in this day and age there is no right to privacy. She can file very expensive libel reports if she can locate these people and solve the issue of collectibility. She can take her attorney and her child around the country to hope the media will be interested enough to garner interest in her issue, or they can go to church and pray. And that's what they can do right now until there's more regulation in the Internet traffic.
KING: How do you feel about this, Katie?
LOVELL: At first I was upset because -- but then when it escalated and it was more than just one Web site, that's when it really started affecting me more, knowing that people were looking at my pictures, and one of the biggest topics on the Internet is Kobe's accuser, attractive rate her one through 10; that's when it really started to affect me as a person. And I wanted to fight back, but I just didn't know how.
KING: Nancy, is there anything that could be done about the Internet?
GRACE: Well, yes, false statements such as these, whether they were made on the Internet or whether they were made in a tabloid or on television are prosecutable for oral slander, or written libel. But as the attorney pointed out, with these Internet start-ups and so forth, it's very hard to locate them and then get money out of them, but that's certainly -- filing a lawsuit is free, but I would certainly advise, one, to file a lawsuit, and two, to follow up on your advice to pray that it doesn't happen again.
But another issue, Larry, is I wonder how the real victim is feeling. Probably much worse than Katie is.
KING: Chris, you are a victim of the Internet, right?
PIXLEY: You are. And you know, the challenge, Larry, is there isn't oftentimes an identifiable media outlet, as Katie's attorney pointed out, that you can go after, and that does make it expensive, very time consuming. It almost becomes a situation where you're like the recording industry of America and you're running around from one university campus to another pursuing people that are disseminating music improperly. Only the recording industry of America has a lot of money to pursue those people. Katie doesn't necessarily have that money.
So it's very difficult. The Web masters can be in their garage making up the stories. It is, though, classic false light invasion of privacy. It's also libel and slander, as Nancy pointed out. It's very actionable, and if you can find out where the source is I think it is something you want to pursue.
KING: Sienna, have you found the source?
LARENE: Yes, we've located several original Web sites, but frankly, Larry, I think what's happened here is because it is difficult to get a handle on practically speaking how a normal family can address these issues, the Web sites feel as though they're Goliaths. They've been empowered, because they feel they're pretty invulnerable, but you know, they just haven't read the Biblical history. We know what happened to Goliath, and they may think this family in Eagle, Colorado is a little David. They may be surprised. They may not feel they're so small in stature. They want to fight back.
KING: Katie, are you still getting repercussions?
LOVELL: I -- I actually has settled down a lot since we've gone to the media and come out saying, please take my picture off the Internet, and that was our main goal, was just to get the pictures off.
KING: And they are off now, right?
LOVELL: For the most part, yes. We have found a couple that refused to take my pictures off, but the majority of the Web sites have taken the pictures off.
KING: Refused to take it off on what grounds?
LARENE: Well, basically right now, Larry, they have the pictures on, two Web sites do, without the very nasty libelous language beneath the pictures, referring to Katie as a W and an S and every other nasty word you can think of. But the pictures themselves are there for their own media interest. You know, we have some congressional interest in looking again at the attempt to regulate Internet content, and I think that's almost more of a proactive situation now, rather than a lawsuit. The family really hasn't decided when and if they are going to file libel actions here.
KING: Just as an aside, Katie, do you know the alleged victim?
LOVELL: Yes, I do.
KING: And what has she said to you about all this?
LOVELL: A couple of weeks ago when it first started happening, she did give me a phone call, just to let me know that my pictures were out there. She called me and was, like, Katie, I just want to let you know that everybody thinks that you're me and your pictures are all over the Internet, and that's really when I started to take a closer look and actually go on to the Internet myself, and that's when I discovered the majority of the Web sites.
KING: How is she holding up, Katie?
LOVELL: I have not spoken to her since that conversation.
KING: Nancy, so many things happen as the offshoot of a rape case, don't they?
GRACE: You know, they really do, and I have seen it over and over and over. Families breaking up, young ladies, women being in therapy from then on and never being the same. If Kobe Bryant is innocent, his marriage is totally in trouble and has been through so much, but, you know, even though this girl, Katie's picture was taken down, Larry, how many thousands, possible millions of people saw the picture before it was taken down. That's not an adequate remedy.
KING: No. You agree, Chris?
PIXLEY: Oh, I do. I do. And of course, the question is, who do you go after and what recourse are you really going to obtain?
KING: Katie, thank you very much for coming forward, and we feel very sorry for you and hope you can rectify it. Sienna, anything you can do, we salute you.
LARENE: Thank you, Larry.
LOVELL: Thank you.
KING: We thank Katie Lovell and her attorney, Sienna Larene, and Nancy Grace and Chris Pixley. You'll be hearing lots more from them, of course, in the days ahead, as Kobe keeps -- the Kobe story keeps elevating. As we go to break, here is the appearance tonight of Kobe at that teen awards. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: The people I want to thank. I want to thank my wife. I want to thank everybody out there for supporting me. You know, we're flying through some dark clouds right now, but through God's will, the sun will rise and shine again. So -- thanks for your support. Thanks for your prayers. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: My sports column's on the Web tonight. You can go right to it at www.si.com/larryking.
Kevin Costner will be our special guest Saturday night on LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, Ann Coulter is here, and Ryan Seacrest, the host of "American Idol." He hosts "American Idol." We all know who hosts "NEWSNIGHT." Our man in New York, my man, like that host to host, Aaron B. Brown.
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