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Public Memorial Begins For Kobe And Gianna Bryant; Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty Of Criminal Sex Act And Rape; Dow Falls As Three New Coronavirus Clusters Emerge In Outbreak. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired February 24, 2020 - 13:00   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN RIGHT NOW: I'm Brianna Keilar. This is CNN special live coverage.

Just moments from now, a city will say goodbye to a sports legend and his daughter as Los Angeles holds a public memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

Thousands filing in the Staples Center right now where Bryant played with the Lakers. Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter accident last month.

Kobe and Gianna were laid to rest in a private burial earlier this month but we're told today's service will be a chance for the public to reflect on Bryant's life and mourning the loss of two lives taken too soon.

We'll be taking you live to Kobe Bryant's memorial as soon as it gets started.

CNN's Sara Sidner and Omar Jimenez are joining us now.

Omar, you are actually inside the Staples Center. You're joining us on the phone. Just give us a sense of what it's like in there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Right now, Brianna, a lot of people are still filing in at the moment. We heard from the president of Staple Center earlier this morning that things would be starting a little bit after 1:00 Eastern Time.

When you look at the stage and how everything is set up, basically, everyone is seated around what would be center court in a normal basketball game, lots of roses surrounding. We're told a little over 30,000 roses are set up in place. There are instruments where we are likely to see a performance and we saw a choir earlier this morning.

And you mentioned perfectly, this is a chance for not just the family and those close to the Bryants to reflect, this is a chance for the public to get really a sense of closure to an event that happened so suddenly, almost a month to a day ago at this point.

Now, when this starts and when this gets going, when you look around at people in here, there are some media members, of course, people that are close to his family and things like that. But there are also many fans who paid money and in some cases went on a lottery just to get a chance to come in here. Tickets were sold at a price between $24.02 and $224, symbolic, of course, because Gianna Bryant, Kobe's daughter, Gigi Bryant's number was 2 and Kobe's, of course, was 24.

And then when you talk about the symbolism, yes, this will take a few hours from beginning to end, but the significance is unmistakable, even down to the date itself, 2/24/20, 2, again, for Gigi Bryant, 24 for Kobe and 20, the amount of time that Vanessa and Kobe were together and the amount he was in the NBA. Brianna?

KEILAR: No, it is very symbolic. His wife talking about that as well, putting that on social media.

And, Sara, this is going to be a big celebration, a somber celebration at times, and this is going to be a celebration from people who knew Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant best. Tell us how this is going to unfold and who is going to speak.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the thing. At this point, we don't know the speakers. The people who are going in are finding some of that out. And we know that on the back of the pamphlet they're getting that has all of the sort of memorial on it, there is a quote from Kobe to his daughter.

But people are finding that out as it happens. They have been very tight-lipped about what is going to happen. I can tell you that when the first game the Lakers had after Kobe died, I was inside, and they had shirts on every single seat, whether you came for the opposing team or you came for the Lakers, and it had 24 on the back and 8 on the front, and those shirts symbolized, you know, what Kobe brought to the Staples Center.

His daughter Gianna, we're expecting to hear a lot more about her, 13- year-old who died on that fateful flight along with seven other people and her father, Kobe. But everything has a significance, as you were hearing Omar say. The tickets themselves, do you know that there were 80,000 people trying to get into that lottery that only had 20,000 tickets to sell? Every single one of them sold. They started at $24.02, 24 being one of Kobe's numbers when he was with the Lakers, the 2 cents signifying his daughter, Gianna, and then they went up to $224. And the date, of course, is significant.

But we have seen thousands upon thousands of people who are really sharing their stories about Kobe with one another while they stand in line, and nobody in L.A. Likes to stand in line because they're always in traffic. It has been the most loving, peaceful, kind place that I've seen in a scenario like this, because everyone is waiting to stream in.

And as they were doing so, they were sharing their love of what he did not only while he was on the team as a five-time winner for the Lakers and also an MVP, but also what he did to share what it's like to come out of adversity, what it's like to go through something, come out the other side and do something for the community.


The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Academy that he and his wife founded, all the proceeds are expected to go towards that.

And what was that about? It was about Kobe and his wife trying to lift young girls up, trying to make sure that they have the ability to be good citizens, have role models and could go into athletics with a strong mind, his daughter, one of those who really wanted to be as good or better than her father, and she was working towards that when she died.

And that's why people are here because of the stories, not just when he was a player but after became a player, won an Oscar for a beautiful ode to basketball. A lot of people have seen what he has done after his time, and they are here to mourn him but they are also here to celebrate what he meant to this city.

KEILAR: Sara, that is a beautiful picture that you are painting even just as people heading into the Staples Center. Omar Jimenez, thank you as well.

We are going to bring this special live coverage of this tribute to Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, as soon as it begins.

But we're also following some other breaking news. Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape in the third degree and of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree. The jury acquitted him on three other charges, including the most serious of predatory sexual assault. Weinstein was taken into custody following this conviction, and Jean Casarez is outside of the courthouse in New York. She has been following this entire trial as it has unfolded.

Jean, to you first. Tell us what these convictions mean.

JEAN CAZARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is truly a mixed verdict, right? Because, as you said, the most serious counts, predatory sexual assault, which really have the life term as the maximum punishment, he was found not guilty of those. But with some of the others, and they are serious felonies, criminal sexual act in the first degree, which is a maximum of 25 years, a minimum of five years, and then also rape in the third degree.

Now, he was charged with rape in the first degree, and that was a not guilty verdict. But rape in the third degree, he was convicted on, and that is up to four years in prison, but it is a probationary offense also. Someone can be put on probation for that. But it was a lot of the end, because the prosecution wanted to remand him in custody and the defense really fought hard in court saying that he's been to court every day, he's not well, his back, his eyes, and then also the fact that he was not convicted of the most serious charges. And I guess to help him, the judge is looking into the infirmary for him to go to, which is obviously possibly better conditions, it's like a hospital rather than the general in-custody situation for someone who has just been convicted. But conviction on two counts, they are sex crimes, they are felonies, so he is remanded into custody. So I think a win for both sides, actually, today in a sense.

KEILAR: And, Jean, Areva Martin is with us, a civil rights lawyer. Areva, take us through what is going to happen now because there obviously are questions that we don't know the answers to when it comes to sentencing.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: One of the things that going to happen, Brianna, is we can expect an appeal from the Harvey Weinstein team. They've already pretty much signaled that they are going to be appealing probably on two issues, one with respect to one of the jurors who was writing or who was reviewing a book about older man who was a predator or sexually assaulted a younger woman, and also the issue of the additional witnesses. There weren't just the two victims who were the subject of this trial, but there were also four additional women who were allowed to testify. So we should expect to see an appeal with respect to those two issues.

But this is, and I don't think we can underscore an amazingly stunning victory for victims all over this country, when you think back to 2017 before the stories that were written by the journalists exposing the conduct of Harvey Weinstein, and then the close to 100 women that have come forth since then have told their stories.

I have been involved in these kinds of cases pre-2000, and so I know what it was like to try to move forward on a case where women were alleging that they have been sexually assaulted by a powerful man such as Harvey Weinstein. Women were often ridiculed, they were harassed, they were humiliated. Their sexual history was put under a microscope and it was very, very difficult both in a criminal setting and a civil setting to bring charges against someone like this.

So even though the prosecutors in this case did not get a guilty verdict on the two most serious charges, we cannot take lightly the seriousness of the charges in which they did receive a guilty verdict.


KEILAR: All right. Areva, thank you so much. Jean, thank you, outside of the courthouse there.

The Dow has taken a fall as the coronavirus spreads and three new outbreaks emerge. You see there down more than a thousand points.

Plus, in moments, the public memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant will begin in Los Angeles as the city remembers a legend and his young daughter.


KEILAR: Let's take a look at the Dow down over a thousand points there amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, this, of course, wiping out most of the gains that the market has made so far this year.


We are going to continue to take a look at this and bring you more information as it becomes available.

We are at this point monitoring special live coverage on CNN coming to you from Los Angeles where a city in mourning since the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter is going to pay tribute to them at the Staples Center here in just a moment. We'll be right back.



KEILAR: Back to our breaking news now on Wall Street. There you see it now, the Dow down about a thousand points, just wiping out most of the gains that the market has made so far this year.

Let's go to CNN's Alison Kosik, who is at the New York Stock Exchange.

Alison, the coronavirus news has been pretty dire here for a while now. So why is this such a strong reaction today?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no doubt about it, Brianna. Fear has returned to Wall Street. The difference today is that over the weekend, the number of cases outside China multiplied. So up until now, they're kind of in this complacency about Wall Street keeping an eye on the coronavirus. But now that we've got this news that the number of cases jumped and those cases were outside of China, that is essentially whipping Wall Street.

And we are seeing that fear play out in an index called the volatility index. It jumped 44 percent in one day. That is shocking traders. One trader coming up to me and saying this is all about anxiety, surprise and all of the unknowns. Although it is too early to tell what the price tag will be for the impact on the global economy with the coronavirus.

We're already seeing the impact on China, and China is a huge player in the world economy and has direct ties to how the U.S. economy could react in this situation. It's part of the reason you're seeing this fear on Wall Street.

One analyst, Alex Young from FTSE Russell, says this virus represents the most uncertain macro risk markets have faced in years. So if you want to have an analogy, in 2018 and 2019, it was the trade war between the U.S. and China that was really the wild card. I think now you're seeing the coronavirus being the X factor in 2020.

KEILAR: All right. Alison, thank you so much. Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange putting all of that into context for us as we watch the Dow down more than a thousand points.

And in moments, the public memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant will begin in Los Angeles as the city remembers a legend. Stand by.



KEILAR: Any minute, the memorial to celebrate the life of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gigi, is going to begin. There are thousands of fans, celebrities, NBA greats all packing L.A.'s Staples Center right now, Bryant's home court, to pay their respects.

And we've been hearing stories of people outside of Staples Center, gathering as they went in, sharing memories of Kobe Bryant, who had such an impact on them through his storied history in Los Angeles with the Lakers and, really, just in contrast to the excitement of game day there at Staples Center, so many people who normally would be there here for this moment. Let's listen.


Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant and their friends, John, Carrie and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan.

On behalf of Vanessa and the entire Bryant family, we thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and appreciate your love in coming to celebrate the life of these remarkable individuals.

While this is a memorial event, the word celebration is very much a part of its purpose. And while we ask you to respect the solemnity of the occasion, we must not forget to celebrate the lives of Kobe, Gianna and their friends. There is no doubt that he would have wanted that.

To begin this event, a very close friend of the Bryant family is here to show her love and support to Vanessa and all of the families here today. Please welcome Beyonce Knowles-Carter.