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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Denise Brown; Interview With Katie Hnida

Aired November 28, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, prime time exclusive: Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, on her fight to keep O.J. Simpson's canceled book off eBay and his TV interview off YouTube, and speaking out on the millions of hush money she says those behind his deal offered her.
Plus, another prime time exclusive. She says she was raped and abused by her own teammates. Now Katie Hnida, the former Colorado University kicker who made headlines and history, finally speaks out about her season in hell. It's her first live prime time interview, and it's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(on camera): Good evening. We begin with an old friend and a new one. The old friend is Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister. I haven't seen her in a while. It's good to see her again. And Natasha Roit, who is the attorney for Denise Brown.

O.J. Simpson's two-part interview was supposed to air yesterday and tomorrow. And the book was due to come out Friday. How do you feel about the cancellation?

DENISE BROWN, WIFE OF NICOLE BROWN BROWN: I'm elated. I think it's absolutely terrific. And I think the American public did an amazing job, you know, getting this off the air.

KING: Are you surprised it was canceled?

BROWN: Gosh, who knows. You know, I mean, there's always a 50/50 chance of anything happening. And we know that. But I think the American people spoke loud and clear. And right on to them.

KING: So your credit goes to them?

BROWN: Absolutely. Oh, my gosh, there were pickets. There were e-mail campaigns. There were letter writing campaigns. There were websites, you know, signing your names on petitions.

Oh, yes, the American people spoke loud and clear. I mean, organizations from Este Solar (ph) to the National Coalition to the East Coast, to Patricia over at Crime Survivors here in Orange County. I mean, there were organizations all over the country that spoke up.

KING: Natasha, why does Denise need a lawyer?

NATASHA ROIT, ATTORNEY FOR DENISE BROWN: Well, I don't think Denise needs a lawyer. I don't think the Brown family needs a lawyer per se. I think they wanted to get legal advice. And also, you know, they're going up against, at this juncture, very big corporations. They're going up against Harper Collins and News Corp and eBay and I had conversations with Google today. And I think, in that sense, they need assistance and representation and pro bono. I was happy to do it.

KING: It was canceled. What's to be against?

ROIT: Well, we're not done. We're far from being done. When the show was first canceled -- and by the way, I join Denise in thanking the American public.

But I'll go one step beyond that. I think the Brown family deserves a ton of credit for stepping up and telling these corporations in no uncertain terms, we're not going to take your money, you have to cancel the show. It's not an option for you. And I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

KING: Were the Goldmans offered money, too?

ROIT: That's something you should address with the Goldmans, and I think that's the only appropriate thing...

KING: What do they offer you money for?

BROWN: Well, it was hush money. I mean...

KING: In return you...

BROWN: I mean, I may not be as articulate as Mr. Murdoch, because he claims that it wasn't hush money. He say, you know -- but when I sit there and I look at a document. And it says, you know, confidential, keep this confidential, or that's what the attorneys had said...

KING: Well, what were you supposed to do in return?

BROWN: ... I think that's hush money.

KING: Were you supposed to not criticize...

BROWN: No, they were still going to air the show. They were actually -- they were actually -- they were still going to air the show. They were still going to do the book. But it was supposed to be moneys just to keep us happy.

ROIT: And let me add to that from a legal perspective, they also wanted covenant not to sue. So, in other words, News Corp. wanted to wash its hands of the situation and say, here's money, we're going to share the profits or give the profits, which by definition meant the show would go on, the book would go on.

KING: Did any money change hands.



KING: How much did they offer you?

BROWN: Enough.

KING: A lot?

BROWN: A lot. Yes, millions.

KING: Did you give it a thought?


KING: Millions?

BROWN: Millions, yes.

No, because you know what, Larry?

I had a million dollar book deal with Judith Regan at one point. And it turned into a tabloid version. That's what she wanted. And I wasn't going to do that. I cannot sell out, I don't care how many millions of dollars people offer me. I cannot sell my sister to the devil. I'm sorry. We're not sleeping with the devil.

KING: As we were going on, Natasha told me she would reveal something tonight never before revealed, and that is the name of the person who handled the money from Fox to Simpson, right?

ROIT: Yes. And this information came to us originally from Harper Collins when they wanted to show, at least preliminarily, some good faith that they would provide this information to us. I've since concluded that that was just one step forward and two steps back, which we can certainly discuss.

But the money, the way it was transacted is it went through -- and I'm sad to say this -- a California attorney -- and I'm sad to say because I'm a California attorney and a member of the bar -- by the name of Brett Saxson (ph). And that's...

KING: Brett Saxson?

ROIT: Saxson. And that's...

KING: And News Corp. gave him the money and he transported it to O.J.?

ROIT: That is exactly -- well, he transported it to another entity that transported it to Mr. Simpson. That is the way it's been presented to us. And I just want to say that we -- I contacted Mr. Saxon. I requested that he speak with me, defend himself if he was, in fact, involved. And that is information that was provided to me in written form from Harper Collins, that he's the individual who was the agent that was funneling the money to the Simpson camp.

KING: Was that getting around the law? Wasn't O.J. supposed to turn that civil money over to the Browns and the...

BROWN: Goldmans.

ROIT: Absolutely, to the Goldmans and to -- the judgment is in the name of Lou Brown, who was the trustee for the children.

BROWN: And for the estate of Nicole.

ROIT: The estate of Nicole.

KING: So that -- was that an illegal act?

ROIT: I believe it was absolutely an illegal act.

KING: O.J. got and spent the money?

ROIT: That's what he says.

KING: Was it $3.5 million?

ROIT: That's not what we're told. But again, I have asked Harper Collins for documentation. Forgive me, but I'm simply not going to take their word for it. They're telling me it's $905,000, that $125,000 of it went to the ghost writer. But that money was, I'm told, funneled to Mr. Simpson from Mr. Saxon.

KING: Last we checked, copies of the book are no longer being offered on eBay. They were for a while, right?

ROIT: They were.

BROWN: Thank God for Natasha.

KING: OK we have here -- we asked eBay about the O.J. book matter. Here are the main points of the statement from the director of Corporate Communications, Hans Dersy (ph):

"Ebay does not want copies of this book on the site. As soon as we became aware that a handful of copies were listed for sale on the site, our first priority became to get them taken down.

In the meantime, eBay's policy team discussed the issue and concluded the Brown family was correct. The sale of this book also violates our offensive items policy, and we are now proactively removing any listings for the book."

Case closed?

ROIT: Look. We want to move on from here. But I will take issue with eBay's statement to the extent that they did not do this quickly and voluntarily. In fact, today for the first time when your show contacted them for comment, I got a phone call, a responsive phone call indicating that they met, they determined the book was offensive and they are taking proactive steps.

KING: Do you believe this book was a confession? BROWN: No. I don't think it was a confession. I think that -- I think it could have been, but the way they went around doing it, I think was just not a confession-type for me. I mean, it didn't ring true.

KING: When you heard about it, was it unbelievable to you?

BROWN: Actually, no, because I thought about it years ago. I said, you know what, one of these days he's going to come out and he's actually say something or he's going to do something. He's going to say how he did it. I thought about this years ago, which is really sad because he woke up this huge nightmare that we lived 12 years ago and all of a sudden, here it is again.

KING: But you don't regard this as a confession?

BROWN: I don't know. I mean, I think it's -- I've talked to a couple people...

KING: Did you read it?

BROWN: No. But I've talked to somebody who has read it. Yes.

KING: Did you read it, Counselor?


KING: We'll take a break. We'll be right back with Denise Brown and Natasha Roit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Simpson is a fugitive of justice right now.

KING: The police believe that O.J. Simpson's in that car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to tell the police to just back off. He's still alive. He's got a gun to his head.

KING: Now police radio is saying that Simpson has a gun at his head. Police radio saying the Simpson, the passenger in the car, has a gun to his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn around. My name is O.J. You know who I am, goddamnit.




KING: O.J.'s attorney, Yale Galanter, told CNN correspondent Jason Carroll that compensation's already made in the form of payment. Simpson has been paid in full. And that Simpson is totally indifferent about the fact that it's been canceled.

FRED GOLDMAN: Well, first of all, that's not true. Hasn't been paid in full. But he has been -- we know. He's been paid a substantial portion of what his agreement was.

Is he indifferent? I doubt that very much. He missed his chance to be in the limelight. He missed his chance to be in the public view, which is incredibly important to him. I don't believe for a minute he's indifferent.


KING: We're back with Denise Brown and Natasha Roit, her attorney. We also contacted Google about the possibility of the O.J. Simpson interview being posted on its site and the possibility of it being posted on YouTube's site.

We received this from spokesperson Gabriel -- if they'll move that, I'll get the name -- Gabriel Stricker.

"Both Google and YouTube are strongly committed to copyright enforcement and prohibit all infringing materials. We employ a variety of methods to discourage users from posting copyrighted material."

That satisfy you, Denise?

BROWN: I just don't want anything to leak out. You know, I know that people are indifferent about having this book out there and having the movie out there, but I truly don't want it out there. I think that what Judith Regan has done -- I mean, being a victim of domestic violence, supposedly, and printing or putting out a manual on how to commit murder, I think is absolutely horrific. I think that, you know, shame on Judith Regan. I just don't even understand that.

KING: Do you fear it's going to come out?

ROIT: You know, I'm not going to take that attitude. I think with the assistance of entities like Google -- and I spoke with them today, and they said consistent with their statement, that they're going to take every measure possible to prevent it. Craig's List has been very cooperative.

And frankly, we've gotten e-mails from people in different states who have been extremely helpful, who notify us if anything even close to that occurs.

I think it can be done. I am not going to take an attitude that it can't be.

I think we can obliterate the book. I think we can obliterate the videotape, and we're going to keep pushing until it's accomplished.

KING: By the way, the Brett Saxson (ph) you mentioned, is he O.J.'s attorney? ROIT: No, that's not the way it's been presented to me. It's been presented to me that he was -- he and his company, T&P in Santa Monica on Ocean Boulevard, actually, you know, spitting distance from me, were the conduit. The money was paid through them to the associates.

KING: Not as an attorney but as a company.

ROIT: Exactly.

KING: So it wasn't Simpson's...

ROIT: And we fully intend to pursue him with the state bar or anything else that's necessary to make him accountable for what he's done.

KING: Denise, one would have said, why not take the money and give it to the children or give it to your own foundation?

BROWN: You know what, because it's blood money. It was just wrong. I think that -- I think if anything, I think News Corp should give these children some money. I think they should be funding their school, their education, doing something like that. Because if they claim that this money was supposed to be going to the children -- and that's what News Corp claimed and that's what Judith Regan claimed -- why didn't they put it into a trust for these children? Why would they give it to their father, knowing what kind of person he is, if they truly didn't believe that?

So I think what they ought to do is they ought to step up to the plate. They ought to give the money to the children, and then some. Take care of these children. Take care of them.

KING: It really got out of hand. Another twist is that "Newsweek" magazine now reports that ABC paid News Corp a kill fee -- as much as $1 million -- when Barbara Walters decided not to do an interview with O.J. Simpson. Any reaction?

BROWN: Really? Right on, Barbara.

ROIT: Something else to add to the list of something News Corp should correct. And I understand exactly what Denise is saying.

If you look at the way this is coming out, News Corp tries to make its decision palatable by saying that we thought the money was going to the children. I mean, bottom line is, any kind of business deal, they would do their due diligence. They would make sure that it goes to the right source. They would make sure that it's put in some sort of fashion, that it does go to the children. They did not want to do any of it. And the only reason they're saying that now is to make their decision more palatable. It can't be made more palatable.

KING: In the end, Denise, are you very bugged that O.J. made money?

BROWN: Yes. Because you know what, if everybody thought it was going to the kids and then he comes out and says he paid his taxes with it, I mean, please. I'm not a fool. It does irritate me. Yes, it does bother me a lot.

KING: We have an e-mail from Barbara in Mission Viejo, California. Question is, "are you and your parents able to have a relationship with the Simpson kids? How often do you get to see them?"

BROWN: They go to school on the East Coast. But yes, my mother has a relationship with Sydney and Justin. She speaks to them as much as possible. When they return my calls, I talk to them as well. But yes, no, we have a relationship with them. It's good.

KING: How old are they now?

BROWN: Twenty-one and 18. Yes, they're young adults. They're not even kids anymore. When we remember them way back when, I mean, they were just little tykes.

KING: How do you think they have a relationship with their dad?

BROWN: I have no idea. You know, Larry, I don't know. I know they love their father, and it's their father and that's the only parent that they have left. And they want to believe him, and they want to believe the things that he says.

But the things that he does are just like, I just don't even get it. You know? I don't know how he could put his kids into a position like this. And that's the sad part for me, because all of a sudden, I mean, what, he was going to write this book on how to murder their mother? What, can't they read anymore? Can't they hear of what's going on? Do they not listen to the news? I mean, it's just sad.

KING: Don't you feel someone's going to publish this book?

BROWN: I hope not. I really hope not. For the sake of the kids, for the sake of my mother and father, for our family, for victims of domestic violence, don't print a book that shows you how to kill somebody. Please, for God's sake. Don't do it.

KING: We'll be right back with Denise Brown and Natasha Roit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Might take a few phone calls as well. Don't go away.


BROWN: The whole fight broke out and pictures started flying off the walls. Clothes started flying. I ran upstairs, got clothes. Started flying down the stairs. And grabbed Nicole, told her to get out of his house. Wanted us all out of his house. Picked her up, threw her against the wall. Picked her up, threw her out of the house.



KING: We know in today's world of the Internet and the like, someone's going to probably print that book, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I definitely think it's going to end up in somebody's hands and we're going to read excerpts about it and it's going to be on the black market somewhere. But I think if nothing else, this, what happened in the last couple of days, the fact that the country got behind what me we did and, once again, supported our efforts to send a message that this is not -- this is not appropriate. So if anyone wants to enter into an agreement with him again and we find out about it, we're not going away.


KING: I understand, Natasha Roit, that you've asked News Corp to sort of guarantee that it doesn't get anywhere? Can they do that?

ROIT: Sure. Of course they can. They're the holders of the copyright. They have the standing, they have the ability, the money, the legal team, the wherewithal. And at this juncture, they're really looking to the Brown family and to me, frankly, to stem this tide. And I think we're doing that and doing everything we can, but think about it -- the Brown family has been through the criminal case, the civil case, the custody case and the appeals. They have the standing. They have the obligation, opportunity to do it.

KING: What can News Corp do? What do you want them to do?

ROIT: I want -- I made very specific demands on them in a letter to which they have not responded. I want them to -- I mean, they have put publications -- they can take out a full-page ad, the same kind of advertising they did for the book. They can take out an and say, anyone who tries to put out a book that is really a stolen book, because it's infringement of a copyright, we're going to come after you with the full force of Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. Where is that kind of an approach? We certainly had a ton of press when the show was going to go on. If they really mean the apology and they're truly sorry, put your money where your mouth is. Do something that actually is right. Don't make a hollow apology, as corporations have a tendency to do.

KING: They haven't answered you.

ROIT: No. I asked them to do it by noon today, and I heard nothing. The only time I've had communications with them was when there was a swell of negative publicity, and now they've gone back to their respective offices and they've not talked to me.

KING: What would be the point, Denise? Why would they not do that?

BROWN: I don't know. I don't know. Their apology means nothing, evidently. I don't understand why they won't help out. They've met one of the demands, which is what, the... ROIT: Well, they've provided us some of the information, including the name that I provided you with today. But honestly, Larry, I think it comes down to corporate responsibility and accountability. And I hate to sound cynical on this, but I really think that's the crux of it. They don't think there are any ramifications, and corporations have a tendency to do that. They'll come out and they'll try something, they'll do something. And if the worst thing that happens to them is it gets undone, so they simply don't profit from it and that's it, that's all that occurs, it makes it worthwhile to give it a shot. And I really hope that we can change that.

KING: Is there a Nicole Brown foundation still going?

BROWN: Oh, absolutely. And you know what I would love to do? I was just thinking of this, is why not pass some kind of legislation so that things like this can't happen. I mean, I would love to be able to get some of these organizations to put on their thinking caps. I mean, murderers should not be able to profit from book deals and TV deals, and, you know, I mean, he was found liable in the civil jury.

KING: Let's take a call. Merit Island, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, I was wondering, since the Goldmans won the civil suit against O.J. and the court ordered him to pay the Goldmans a certain amount of money and he hasn't complied with that court order, why hasn't he been arrested for contempt of court?

ROIT: That's an excellent question. Also, an excellent suggestion. And I won't speak to the Goldmans or to Florida law, but I'll speak to the California law where the judgment is, and tell you that, unfortunately, collection of judgment is not punishable by contempt. It should be, but that's simply not the way the law works. And to comment on Denise's point about legislation, we certainly have that kind of legislation, if somebody's found guilty in a criminal case. And even though the burden of proof is less in a civil case, I think she has a point about that type of legislation. You shouldn't be able to profit from it.

KING: And you think he could be arrested?

ROIT: No, I don't think he could be arrested. Not for -- not for not paying on a judgment. There are civil ramifications to it, to people who are involved in that. And I think it's really sad and ironic that the individual who funneled the money is literally a few minutes away from the courthouse where the judgment was rendered in a civil verdict, and I think that's really wrong.

KING: Wouldn't you, Denise, read the book?


KING: Just out of absorbed interest? She was your sister.

BROWN: No, I will not read the book.

KING: Wouldn't you want some finality?

BROWN: Larry, I have not read any of the books. Not one book have I read to this day. I have not even heard the 911 tape. I can't do it. I won't do it. The books, to me, to me they're blood money. I just can't do it. I know people read them and they tell me -- give me little excerpts of it. But I just can't even waste a dime on something like that.

KING: You wouldn't watch the tape?

BROWN: No. No. Somebody would watch it and they would tell me and they'd say, this is what's going on and this is what's happening, but I can't sit there and listen to that, the murderer, this murderer talk and actually hear his voice. I can't stand it.

KING: Do you think the public would have watched, in large numbers?

BROWN: I don't know how large the numbers, but I think there's a bit of curiosity out there, and people would have watched it, yes. I absolutely think so.

KING: You think the book would have been a best seller?


KING: Don't think so?

BROWN: No. No, I don't.

KING: We're doing to spend a few more moments with Denise Brown and Natasha Roit, and then meet Katie Hnida, the first female ever to play and score in NCAA Division I college football. Author of a new book called "Still Kicking." An extraordinary story. We'll meet Katie in a couple of minutes.

We'll be right back with some more moments with Denise and Natasha right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is people's 164-a. Is that the right- hand glove?

KING: Why didn't it fit?

CHRISTOPHER DARDEN: It fit. It fit well enough to kill two people with.

KING: But in court, it didn't?

DARDEN: Well, it shrank some. He had on latex gloves. He didn't want it to fit.

JOHNNIE COCHRAN, ATTORNEY: It's no disguise. It's no disguise. It makes no sense. It doesn't fit. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.



KING: By the way, we attempted to contact Brett Saxson, who was mentioned earlier as the deliverer of the money, him and his corporation. We could not reach him.

We have some remaining moments with Denise Brown and Natasha Roit.

What are you doing now, Denise?

BROWN: I'm still working with the foundation. I'm a community safety advocate for a company called the Wireless City. A lot of cities are going wireless now, so we're trying to make these communities safer. And so that is my little job there. I still travel around the world, speaking out about domestic violence. So, I'm still busy.

KING: People still talk to you about O.J.?

BROWN: All the time. All the time...

KING: When this came up...

BROWN: ... and -- go ahead.

KING: Go ahead.

BROWN: No, people just -- they always just say, oh, my God, I'm so disgusted. I'm horrified. I can't believe your family has to go through something like this again.

And, you know, I mean, there's so much sympathy, there's just so much support. And it's wonderful. It's good.

KING: Natasha, what further developments do you envision, legally, with regard to Denise?

ROIT: Well, we're going to keep an eye on corporations like eBay and continue our cooperation with Google to make sure it doesn't see the light of day.

But most importantly, we're going to keep pushing Harper Collins and we're going to keep pushing News Corp. I don't think the Brown family needs to start litigating anew.

I think News Corp. and Harper Collins owe them a duty. They started this mess. They ought to unwind it. They ought to finish it. And whatever it takes to get them to do the right thing, I'm on board pro bono to get it done.

KING: Are you optimistic?

ROIT: I am always optimistic. And I think if you back up optimism with action, amazing things happen.

KING: I wish you nothing but the best of luck.

Great seeing you again.

BROWN: Thanks, Larry.

ROIT: Thank you, Larry. I appreciate it.

KING: Thank you, and thanks for providing us with that information.

ROIT: You bet.

KING: Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister and Natasha Roit, her attorney.

Just ahead, the female football player who broke ground on the college gridiron but says she was brutalized by a teammate in the process of realizing a dream. Katie Hnida is next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Welcome back.

My next guest entered the record books in 2003 as the first woman to play in and score a point in Division I NCAA football game. But she may best be remembered for something she wishes she could forget.


(voice-over): She'd been Homecoming Queen and the kicker and only girl on her high school football team. But when she tried to become a college kicker, Katie Hnida wound up exploding a local scandal into a national controversy.

In February 2004, she told "Sports Illustrated" magazine that a Colorado University football teammate had raped her while other teammates molested her. Three other women had already claimed rape by members of the team, which was being investigated for allegedly luring recruits without with alcohol-fueled sex parties.

Colorado's coach only made things hotter with this response.

GARY BARNETT, FMR. HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, UNIV. OF COLORADO: It was obvious that Katie was not very good. She was awful. Katie was a girl. Not only was she a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it. She couldn't kick the ball through the uprights.

BARNETT: As someone described today, I think I said the wrong thing the wrong way and at the wrong time.

KING: Barnett stepped down after the 2005 season. And all told, six women came forward with rape claims against the University of Colorado football team. Three filed suits that would be dismissed by a federal judge. Katie Hnida never sued, never identified her alleged rapists, but she did battle depression for two years before finally making history at the University of New Mexico.


(on camera): We now welcome Katie Hnida, the first female ever to play and score in NCAA Division I college football, the author of the new book "Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division I College Football". There you see its cover.

You write very honestly about what happened to you. Why? Why did you write this?

KATIE HNIDA, AUTHOR, "STILL KICKING": Well, I thought it was important to get my story out there. I maintained a pretty low profile, or as low as I could have after I came forward. And I thought that it was important for me to be able to share my side of the story and to detail my entire experience from Colorado all of the way to New Mexico.

KING: How did you come to kick in high school?

HNIDA: It actually happened by accident. I was out with my younger brother and my dad in our backyard. And I was a soccer player and we were just tossing the ball around and I kicked it back to my dad. He was like, hey, that was pretty good. So he set me up with some field goal posts, heard the team needed a kicker, and the next thing I knew...

KING: Did you kick successfully in high school?

HNIDA: Yes, I did. I...

KING: Field goals, extra points?

HNIDA: I did field goals and extra points all four years.

KING: Were you a walk on at Colorado?

HNIDA: I was a walk on.

KING: And when did this happen? Were you kicking freshman? Were you a freshman kicker?

HNIDA: Yes, I was a freshman at the University of Colorado.

KING: And what year did this rape occur?

HNIDA: It occurred the summer after my freshman year.

KING: Why did you not identify the perpetrator?

HNIDA: In the book or right away?

KING: Right away.

HNIDA: right away. When you're raped it's amazing the -- what happens inside of you the first -- you know, the first few hours afterwards. It was an acquaintance rape. And this was a man I trusted, thought was a friend.

KING: A player?

HNIDA: A player, it was a player and also someone who I had always held in a high regard.

KING: You date him?

HNIDA: No, no. Not at all. But was friends with him.

KING: So how did it occur? Where were you? What happened? Was the season in progress?

HNIDA: No, we were in summer conditioning. And I had ran to him in the weight room earlier that day. He asked if I wanted to come over and watch a game that night. And we had -- you know, we had hung out a couple of times before. And I was like, sure, yes, I'll come over and watch the game. Never, ever dreamed in a million years what would have happened that night.

KING: And suddenly he just -- were other people there?

HNIDA: No, it was -- it was just me. And I was sitting on the couch and, you know, was just normal, I kicked off my shoes, sitting there watching the game, asked what I had missed.

And he sat down next to me. And then the next thing I know he was touching the side of my head and touching my hair, kind of stroking my hair, told me, gosh, you know, you're really pretty.

And I was like, what? Like, what are you -- what are you talking about? It was odd because we didn't have that kind of relationship.

KING: Was he a starting player, by the way? Well-known player?

HNIDA: I don't think I would like to reveal that here.

KING: All right. What happened?

HNIDA: So we were sitting there and watching the game and he just started kissing my neck. And I said, no, you know, stop. This is -- I don't want to do this. I absolutely didn't want to be involved with anyone on the team in any sort of way other than in a teammate or friendship capacity. And he just didn't stop. He kept going. And the next thing I know he was on top of me. And the guy outweighed me by at least 100 pounds.

KING: What happened after it was over, did you just run out of the house?

HNIDA: Actually, his cell phone rang, and for some reason he went and picked it up. To this day, I still do not know why. And as soon as the cell phone rang, for a minute I was -- my body was in shock at that point. And I just sat there kind of blindly for a second. And then my instincts kicked in, and it was like, run, get up, go. I grabbed my keys and I took off. KING: Were your clothes off?

HNIDA: No, no, I was fully clothed through this entire thing, minus my flip-flops.

KING: Did you report him?

HNIDA: I did not immediately.

KING: Why not?

HNIDA: Again, because it was an acquaintance rape. I was very scared. I went home, and I think I was a little bit numb from -- well, obviously I was numb from what had just happened to me. I was very emotionally torn up. My head was spinning. I was in sort of a just a fog. And I think there was a part of me that had been numbed out because I spent that season being harassed, being sexually harassed an awful lot.

KING: By other players?

HNIDA: By other players. And it seemed to be acceptable behavior.

KING: Did you figure, I'm pretty, I'm setting a milestone here, I'm going to step into some trouble?

HNIDA: No, never.

KING: Never thought of it?

HNIDA: No, because I had a great high school experience.

KING: Never was -- brought up?

HNIDA: It never -- no, not once.

KING: How much of it is the institution's fault?

HNIDA: That's -- it's really hard to, I think, delegate the blame. Obviously, the only person that I hold responsible for raping me is the man who did it.

KING: Did you eventually charge him?

HNIDA: I did not, but I did testify to the grand jury in Colorado. The state called a grand jury investigation into...

KING: It is secret?

HNIDA: It is secret. But I also met with the D.A. about a year before I came public with the story.

KING: No charges were brought?

HNIDA: That was my decision, though, at that time. I was in school. I was down at New Mexico at that point.

KING: You transferred?

HNIDA: Yes, I transferred. I don't think that people understand exactly what happens when you press rape charges, and everything that you have to go through to...

KING: Like?

HNIDA: ... to get a conviction. Things like being...

KING: Your prior record -- not prior record, but who did you ever date before?

HNIDA: Yes, sure. You put -- you know, you're really revictimized over and over again. Even just when I came forward, it was incredibly terrible because...

KING: How did your father react?

HNIDA: It was incredibly tough on both my parents, as well as my brothers and sisters.

KING: Did your father try to meet this guy?

HNIDA: No, he didn't.


HNIDA: Didn't go after -- it's -- you're a father, Larry, you've got two daughters.

KING: I have one daughter, but I have two little boys. But if -- I would go, I think I would go after them.

HNIDA: It's hard -- it's been a very hard thing for him, for my mother, and for my brother and sisters.

KING: Were you shocked at what the coach had to say about you, you know, all this...?

HNIDA: You know, to be honest, I really was not that shocked. People are always surprised when I say that, but that was the man that I knew. So for me to hear him say that was just sort of like, all right.

KING: Did you fear the same occurrence at New Mexico?

HNIDA: Not at all. I went into New Mexico with my guard up a little bit. But I believed that I had found a good program. I, you know, visited a bunch of different schools and decided on New Mexico. And once I got in there, I was at ease almost immediately by the way that the program was run and my new teammates.

KING: Did you spend three years there?

HNIDA: I did. Three wonderful years.

KING: Graduate?


KING: Kick a lot?

HNIDA: No, not -- not in games. I probably could have kicked more if I had gone down a level or two, but I definitely wanted to stay at the Division I level.

KING: But you kicked a couple of extra points?

HNIDA: Yes, sure did.

KING: That must have been some thrill.

HNIDA: You know, it was. But I have to say, what was best about that was the day after I got in and had the history making kicks. I found out the next day that it was my teammates that made it happen, that were telling my coach, put Katie in, put Katie in. And that meant so much more to me than the kicks themselves.

KING: Our guest is Katie Hnida. What a story. "Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division I College Football."

More with Katie ahead. Right now, let's go to Istanbul, Turkey. Standing by is Anderson Cooper. And today was a historic day, was it not?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it sure was, Larry. The pope arrived in Turkey today. Began his visit with a surprise announcement, an attempt to help bridge the gap created with his controversial quote about violence and Islam two months ago. From my spot here in Istanbul, we're going to bring you the pope's comments from his first day. Also, reaction here in the Muslim world.

We're also covering President Bush as he prepares to meet with Iraq's prime minister in Jordan tomorrow. All that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour on 360.

KING: That's "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is good enough to compete for at least a backup job on the Division I level. And I think it's unfortunate that her national notoriety has come through the allegations and the scandals of Colorado and not through some outstanding athletic achievements.




GARY BARNETT, FORMER HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: At the end of practice, we would have 20 media members there to talk to a walk-on kicker who couldn't kick it through the uprights. And, you know, that was an issue. There was all -- there were all these cameras at practice all the time. They weren't there to talk about football. They were there to talk about our female kicker, who had a ponytail out the back of her helmet. That's what it was about.


KING: You look shocked. You had not seen that before?

HNIDA: I have not ever seen that one before. I thought that I had seen a lot. But truth be told, I do avoid a lot of the negative stuff.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Jen in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I'm not saying you asked for this. It was brutal, invasive and wrong. But why, oh, why, would you think that you would be the exception to the rule and the fellas would accept you? Take you in unconditionally without ridicule and abuse?"

HNIDA: Well, first off, as I said, I spent four years in high school and had no problems. I was accepted completely. And then I went on to play at a tremendous program, where I fell in and fit like a sister. I was around 130 men at that program, too, and never was ridiculed, never was harassed, never thought that I would be an exception to a rule.

KING: This was peculiar to the University of Colorado and the way they manage their program?

HNIDA: You know, I tend to believe in the goodness of people, and it's really important to point out that there were a lot of good guys on that team. There was just a certain number who really made my life a living hell.

KING: Are you puzzled why the assailant -- the alleged assailant hasn't been charged?

HNIDA: No, no. Not at all, because that's been in my hands and has been my decision about going forward with charges. And as I said, it's very, very hard to get a rape conviction. I don't have -- I didn't do all the things after a rape that you are supposed to do.

KING: Go to the hospital?

HNIDA: You know, go to a hospital, go to -- I was in such a state of shock, had no idea. The fact that he was a friend, I thought, well, this can't be rape. To me I always thought rape was some man running out of the woods at you with a knife in the dark, so don't walk alone, not someone that you trust and spend time with and joke around with, someone that you respected.

KING: I know you're not naming him, but whatever happened to him?

HNIDA: He right now, I actually do know where he is. I won't say. But the -- both the Denver and the Boulder D.A. do keep...

KING: Is he working? Is he out of college?

HNIDA: He is out of college.

KING: Was he potential for the NFL or not?

HNIDA: I have no idea.

KING: Another aspect of this extraordinary woman's life is when you went to New York City to be honored as "Teen People's" number one teen to change the world -- which is great -- you got the news about the Columbine school shootings. You went to Chatfield High and Littleton. Columbine was your rival, right?


KING: Did you kick against Columbine?

HNIDA: Yes, Columbine was our biggest game of the season every year in high school.

KING: What did you make of that story?

HNIDA: That was tremendously -- probably ranks up there with the rape as the most difficult day of my entire life. I was dating a guy who was there. I had grown up -- it's the same community. My book is actually dedicated to Frank de Angeles (ph), who is the principal of Columbine High School, who is a man of just unbelievable integrity and strength.

And I had a lot of friends who were affected by that, including a close friend who was in the library at the time and was injured. And she's been a tremendous source of strength and support for me as I've gone through all the different trials and obstacles in my life.

KING: Has anyone at the university ever apologized to you?

HNIDA: No, I've never received an apology from anyone at the university. However, though, I have met with the new president, with the new athletic director and I'm in contact right now with some of the regions, trying to get in touch with a chancellor because I really do think that they're going in the right direction there. And I would like nothing more than to see Colorado regain its reputation back because it is a wonderful university.

KING: You ever hear from Coach Barnett?

HNIDA: No, I never have heard from him.

KING: You graduated cum laude.

HNIDA: I did. KING: Not bad.

HNIDA: Thank you.

KING: What are you future plans? What are you doing? You live in New York now.

HNIDA: I live in New York right now. My future plans are wide open right now. The possibilities seem endless. I'm doing a little bit of writing. I do speaking, motivational. I also speak now a lot on sexual assault.

And I'm looking at possibly going back to school. The one thing that I've learned that is that life never follows along the path that you plan. So I'm -- I'm really open for anything that will come my direction.

KING: Katie Hnida.

We'll be back with our remaining moments with this extraordinary young lady right after this.


HNIDA: It's indescribable. It really, truly, truly is. I've been working for this for so long and have gone through so much to get to this point that it's just amazing. It's never been about making history or records or anything. It's just about keeping -- I love football so much.




HNIDA: These guys and these coaches are a big reason why this was able to happen tonight. I really cannot stress enough how the situation here at New Mexico has just been so wonderful for me and has made it possible for me to do what I'm doing here. And I truly don't think that this would be possible in a lot of other programs. This is an incredibly, incredibly special place.


KING: Our guest is Katie Hnida. The book is now available everywhere.

You write that you're still healing from the rape and that you think about it all the time.

HNIDA: Sure. I think it becomes a part of you and it affects so many different areas of your life. However, it is certainly not something that defines my life. But it is a part of me.

KING: And no desire, even though you probably cannot prove the case this late in time and you didn't go to the hospital right away. Isn't there some desire to get even with this guy?

HNIDA: Well, I think there is something inside of me that feels like I have a bit of a moral obligation to do that, but I also know that the chances for a conviction are so slim. And I also know just how incredibly tough that would be for me and for my family.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Helen in Athens, Greece.

What advice would you give young women and girls who dream of becoming professional athletes?

HNIDA: Man, to go for it. There is -- for any -- anyone, any athlete, any kid, particularly females -- pursue, pursue your dreams, pursue what you want to do.

I think sports for me is something that I love so much. It has been a tremendous part of my life. It's really been a metaphor for life. I've learned so many different lessons through it. I would absolutely encourage all young girls and women if they're interested in pursuing a sports, keep going.

KING: Still want to play football?

HNIDA: You know, let's just say the love is definitely still there. And I absolutely never reached my full potential. So that's kind of hard.

KING: Ever thought about the Detroit Lions? Arizona, maybe?


KING: How about the Raiders? I'm just going with the teams that only have two wins.

Thank you, Katie.

HNIDA: All right. Thanks so much, Larry.

KING: Katie Hnida, the first female ever to play and score in NCAA Division I college football. She's the author of "Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division I College Football".

Tomorrow night, special guest. He's the junior senator from the state of Massachusetts and the former Democratic Party candidate for president, Senator John Kerry. John Kerry, special guest tomorrow night.

Right now we turn things over to Istanbul, Turkey, where our man Anderson Cooper is standing by. He's hosting "AC 360" on this historic day from that historic site -- Anderson.