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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Kobe Bryant to Appear in Court Wednesday

Aired August 4, 2003 - 20:25   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: On Wednesday, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant will appear in court on charges of sexual assault. On Wednesday night, Bryant will appear again on national television, picking up an award for a favorite male athlete at the Teen Choice Awards. It is an interesting juxtaposition. And some legal experts wonder whether it is a good move for Bryant.
I'm joined now by two high-profile attorneys, former O.J. Simpson attorney Carl Douglas, who joins us from New Orleans tonight; and Milton Grimes, a former lawyer for Rodney King, who joins us from Los Angeles this evening.

Welcome, gentlemen.

MILTON GRIMES, ATTORNEY: Good evening.

CARL DOUGLAS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you very much for having me, Paula.

ZAHN: Our pleasure.

Carl, first off, was it a smart move for Kobe Bryant to pick up that award at the Teen Choice awards over the weekend?

DOUGLAS: Well, Paula, it probably would not have been the choice I would have made for him. He really has to remember that, in this hyperkinetic media world that he finds himself, everything that he does is going to take on tremendous implications.

So I think it is very important that he remember that and that he present himself in the proper light. And I don't think that is probably the most preferred light that his lawyers would have wanted for him.

ZAHN: All right, so, Carl, you're looking at this picture and you're looking at gazillions of dollars of jewelry on him. What else bothers you about this picture?

DOUGLAS: Oh, he's having the peace sign. They're chanting his name. He is dressed very informally. He's very casual. He seems to be having a lot of fun.

I'm not saying he should be a hermit. But, at the same time, he has to be very mindful of the impression that every appearance he makes is going to have on the greater, larger jury pool.

ZAHN: What about this, Milton? Could this potentially hurt him down the road when it comes to jurors' perception of him and how he is facing the seriousness of this charge that awaits him?

GRIMES: I disagree partly with what was said.

I think you can't expect him to be a recluse. He's a person that has acquired great fame. If he goes to the 7-Eleven, the news media is going to know about it. He was selected for this award, I would believe, long before this allegation of July came about. He has to live his life. I do agree with Carl that he should not do extraordinary things to draw attention. But things that were scheduled, things that are respectful, I believe he should participate in, so that the public knows he's still out there and he's not acting like a guilty person and hiding from the media or the public.

ZAHN: So, Milton, you're telling me that, when he faces a majority of jurors in Eagle County, Colorado, that is predominantly white, that it is not going hurt him that he was seen at the Teen Choice Wards and at the Espy Awards in what some felt was too casual of a...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Carry on.

GRIMES: He's going to be running down a basketball court partially nude for the earning of his livelihood. And he can't stop from doing that, nor I do think he can stop being Kobe Bryant overnight.

And I don't think that the public would think that he's flaunting himself or exploiting the situation because he's participating in programs that are for the benefit of the public. So I think that he should be at public outings and he should not be a recluse.

ZAHN: So, Carl, if you were advising him, what would you be telling him to do in these days leading up to the hearing and the days that come shortly after this very important hearing on Wednesday?

DOUGLAS: Well, Paula, certainly I wouldn't suggest that he become a hermit or a recluse.

But, certainly, I think it important he be mindful of the choices that he is now making, because everything that he does is going to become the topic of a media program such as this.

GRIMES: I agree with that.

DOUGLAS: And I think, in that spirit, if he thinks in that way, he will make appropriate choices with the larger trial and that whole perspective in mind.

ZAHN: Milton, you get the final thought.

GRIMES: He shouldn't be hosting a beauty contest or something that may be sexually oriented. I think that that type of thing would be in poor taste. But other programs, such as what he has done, I see nothing wrong with. ZAHN: We're going leave it there this evening.

Milton Grimes, Carl Douglas, thank you for both dropping by.

GRIMES: Thank you.

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