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Defense Attorneys, Asst. D.A. Hold News Conferences Following Arraignment of Robert Downey, Jr.

Aired December 27, 2000 - 11:52 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We go live now to Indio, California. Here's defense attorney for Robert Downey, Jr. This is Daniel Brookman.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I will step out here, Daryn. Daniel Brookman is being set-up right here. We are putting our microphones on right now.

First off, were you are surprised at all that they did not grant you the continuance you had sought?

DANIEL BROOKMAN, ROBERT DOWNEY JR.'S ATTORNEY: I was not surprised, the prosecutor in this case has indicated that they want to go forward with the case. Although, a continuance is oftentimes granted. The fact that it was not in this case, is not surprising to us.

Generally, we are pleased with what happened today. There are some issues that have yet to be resolved. There are some additional discovery materials that we want to look at, some of it while we are out here in Indio. And we will be deciding on our future course of action based upon our ongoing investigation in this case.

QUESTION: What are the additional discoveries?

BROOKMAN: I am not going to comment on that.

QUESTION: Can you characterize the mood and the state of Mr. Downey right now?

BROOKMAN: Mr. Downey is optimistic. He is upbeat about this. He is committed to moving on with his life, his personal life, as well as his legal problems are of some concern to him. But he is optimistic and addressing the issues as they present themselves.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The year prior, prior in the case in Malibu.

QUESTION: Do you guys plan on taking advantage of the (INAUDIBLE)?

BROOKMAN: I am not going to comment at this time. It certainly is an option, but we are not going to comment on that.

QUESTION: Why is he reluctant to make all court appearances?

BROOKMAN: This is just a normal, procedural motion that is filed typically that sometimes dates get shifted around, or people are not ready to proceed for one reason or another. It's not unusual in a case that there is a bond up that the defendant's presence in court will be excused for a routine appearance. That's very typical in cases like this.

QUESTION: What you are finding wrong with the complaint (INAUDIBLE)?

BROOKMAN: I will not comment on that at this time.

QUESTION: Can you characterize the tone of the discussions has been with the district attorney's office here. Do you get a sense that they're willing to work you, or these are some prosecutor that very much want to get Mr. Downey, or just what?

BROOKMAN: I think that all parties to this action are conducting themselves in a professional manner. I really don't know what their motivations are. I can't speak for them. You will have to ask them that.

QUESTION: ... the probation after the arrest?

BROOKMAN: He was not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was out on appeal.

QUESTION: Have you found out who made that 911 phone call yet?

BROOKMAN: I will not comment on it.

QUESTION: You talked about evidence that you want to go through, videotapes, audiotapes. What kind of stuff do you have to look at?

BROOKMAN: That type of stuff.

QUESTION: Have you received that yet?

BROOKMAN: We have received some items. There are still items that we have not received at this time. We are hopeful that we will get them in the near future.

QUESTION: In terms of his ongoing drug treatment, is he being treated right now? What is the status of that?

BROOKMAN: I am not going to comment on that?

QUESTION: There are three attorneys on this case. Is the case that complex?

BROOKMAN: Myself, Robert Waters of Santa Monica, and Mr. Thomas Eckert of Indio are his three attorneys on this case, along with an investigative team. Mr. Waters and I represent many, many defendants. We've enlisted Mr. Eckert for local counsel, and we intend to pursue this case, as his three attorneys in this case.

QUESTION: In terms of the of possible outcome, can you give us what you think would be your best case scenario and your worst case scenario?

BROOKMAN: The dismissal and everybody go on with their lives.

QUESTION: Did Mr. Downey consent to the search during the time of the arrest?

BROOKMAN: I don't think the media necessarily helps a person in this situation, whether it's a person of some notoriety, or just an ordinary person, the glare of publicity is never a comfortable situation to deal with.

QUESTION: Will he be able to continue on with his projects that he has scheduled?

BROOKMAN: I can't comment on that. I see no reason why he could not.

Thank you very much.

VERCAMMEN: Well, there you have it. You heard the attorneys for Mr. Robert Downey, Jr., Daniel Brookman and Mr. Robert Waters. And they said that Robert Downey, Jr., overall, was upbeat and optimistic after what happened here in this courtroom today in Indio.

KAGAN: Paul, I think you have Tricia Kelly right behind you, the prosecutor, ready to go.

VERCAMMEN: I think you are absolutely right, and I think I am going to step back out of the way, and keep my large head out of the view finder.

This is our prosecutor in the case, deputy district attorney...

TRICIA KELLY, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Because when the defendant is present at the court proceedings, it does assist in either resolving the matter or having it go forward on expedited pace. Having a defendant not appear oftentimes just calls for another continuance, and we wanted to try to avoid that, have this matter resolved as quickly as possible, whether it be a plea or setting it for trial.

QUESTION: They are threatening to file for a demur. Is there something wrong with the complaint?

KELLY: No, it is a standard practice among the defense to file the demur at this point. It is not anything unusual. It is something that we did anticipate.

QUESTION: Do you think that they wanted to make it clear that they could change their plea because they want to take advantage of the drug court?

KELLY: That would probably be a better question for the defense as far as what their theory would be. If they wanted to take advantage of the Indio drug court, they would simply need to let us know, and we could explore that possibility.

QUESTION: What are you seeking in this case, with the option to I guess incorporate the penalty enhancement as part of the penal code. This could be a fairly severe sentence down the road, if he is convicted on all counts. I am wondering, what is the attitude of the district attorney's office and what you are seeking?

KELLY: Well, he is facing anywhere between probation up to state prison. So the sentencing really does come from the court's -- in this case, it would be the question for the judge to answer, if there's not a negotiated disposition in the case. If it's a plea to the court, or if it's a trial that results in a guilty verdict, then the sentencing would be in the hands of the court.

QUESTION: And yet, what is your perspective? How serious do you view the alleged crimes?

KELLY: Well, it's -- it's serious enough that, you know, we are not taking it lightly. It's something that we have put a lot of time and energy into. And so far as sentencing, I don't feel that it would be proper at this time to comment on a sentencing outview of what the district attorney is looking for. But we are prepared to go forward on the case.

QUESTION: Could this be resolved by the 29th? or do we know at point?

KELLY: That would be up to the defense if they wanted to try and resolve it. That's their option.

QUESTION: Have they made any attempt, or is there any talk of a deal in the works? And would you prefer to make a deal?

KELLY: Again, that is something -- Settlement talks traditionally are something that we don't comment on. If they have occurred, or if they are ongoing, that is something that would be improper for me to really comment on at this point.

QUESTION: What are the videotapes and audiotapes that were mentioned?

KELLY: Different piece of the evidence during the arrest and the processing of the defendant that the defense want to take a look at.

QUESTION: Are some of them hotel security?

KELLY: I can't really comment on what they come from, just that they are part of the case, and they are being turned over to the defense.

QUESTION: He is pleading not guilty, any concern that perhaps in the hotel room all of his rights were not observed?

KELLY: Those are motions that could be brought by the defense that would be litigated in court.

QUESTION: Just focusing on Robert Downey Jr.'s case, and what's come up to light recently and previously, do you think that just focusing on his case, the war of drugs that we are proceeding with now is working?

KELLY: Well, I don't think you can take just one individual and determine whether or not a war on drugs is successful or not. I think that people are being held responsible for their actions and, as the district attorney in this county, it's our job to make sure that we do hold people responsible. In this case, in charging him and bringing him to court.

QUESTION: You don't think it is the individual's responsibility rather than the court's?

KELLY: Well, I think that the courts here in Indio have taken great steps in addressing this problem through the Indio drug court, which has been a great program, that has been in existence for a number of years now. And it's something the drug court situation has been occurring in counties and states all across the country. So it is something that people are addressing in that way.

QUESTION: Do you think we should, rather than criminalize addicts, put them in -- give them help or jail?

KELLY: Well, it is not my place to comment on that. As the district attorney, we are here for, you know, we are here for the charged offenses. We are here ready for court, and ready to take whatever steps the defense want to take next in the case.

QUESTION: Tell us about the...

KELLY: I can't really comment on the evidence at this point.

Trisha Kelly, and I am a deputy district attorney.

KAGAN: We have been listening to comments from Trisha Kelly, she is the district attorney, the prosecutor in the case against Robert Downey, Jr. We also heard from his defense attorney a little bit earlier. This following the arraignment of the actor that you saw live here on CNN. Robert Downey, Jr. facing charges, two felony counts of drug possession, and one misdemeanor count of being under the influence of drugs.

This will be continued into the next court date we will see on January 29th.

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