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Accuser's attorneys: Bryant will have to testify

Attorneys John Clune, left, and L. Lin Wood discuss their client's lawsuit against Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Attorneys for the woman who alleges Kobe Bryant sexually assaulted her spoke Tuesday with CNN anchor Bill Hemmer about their client's lawsuit against the NBA star.

L. Lin Wood and John Clune also talked about the criminal case against Bryant and how it crumbled.

HEMMER: John, why did she make the decision not to go forward?

CLUNE: I think that we saw a fairly systematic breakdown of the criminal justice system over the past 14 months. And probably four or five weeks ago, she really started to have some concerns, and we had concerns, as her attorneys, about whether or not she was going to get a fair trial.

And ultimately, the availability of this type of powerful statement that Mr. Bryant made, both apologizing to her directly and also admitting and conceding that he sees why she felt like this encounter was nonconsensual, our client felt that it was in definitely her better interests.

HEMMER: Was there one thing, or was there a series of events that led her to reach the conclusions she did?

CLUNE: It was certainly a series of events that led to this conclusion. And those events, combined with the statement, told her what she needed to do.

HEMMER: Here is the statement, the apology from Kobe Bryant:

"I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did."

How important was that statement to your client?

WOOD: Well, the next sentence in the paragraph you were reading goes on to say that Bryant admits that looking at the evidence, hearing her attorneys and hearing her testify that he recognizes that she sincerely believes that this was a nonconsensual encounter. That's a remarkable admission.

Remember, this started off with Kobe Bryant having to publicly admit that he committed adultery. He initially told the police that he had no sexual encounter with our client.

And now it ends, in effect, the criminal case with Kobe Bryant having to issue a public apology directed directly to this young girl and to her family, acknowledging that he does not question her motives in pursuing the case, and then making this admission that I think is remarkable.

HEMMER: As the civil suit moves forward, what are you seeking?

WOOD: Well, we're seeking fair compensation for this young girl's -- for the injury done.

HEMMER: What's considered fair?

WOOD: You know, it's up to a jury ultimately to decide what she deserves in terms of fair compensation. The injury is enormous. This young girl will live with the scars of this rape for the rest of her life, as well as the aftermath of being involved in this incident, because her life -- as you know from following this for 14 months -- this young girl has had her life threatened. Two men have gone to jail that threatened her life. Her privacy has been invaded. And her reputation has been basically destroyed.

It's going to take her the rest of her life to get over it, if she really ever can.

HEMMER: If that is the case and the reality for this young woman, then if you're going to proceed with a civil case, you're going to continue to open her up to the possibility that she's going to be exposed in a way that will see her victimized yet again, as you state.

John, is that a concern?

CLUNE: Not so much, and here's why. There were certain protections that the criminal case was supposed to afford this young girl, and the criminal case failed in offering those protections. The things that were supposed to protect her from being abused publicly, being besmirched in the media, from having her nonrelevant sexual history, mental health history -- those types of things were all things that the criminal case was supposed to cover for her, and they didn't happen.

HEMMER: Did the district attorney make mistakes?

CLUNE: I think that if you asked the DA himself, he would be very comfortable telling you that if he had to do some things over again, he would certainly do those things over again.

HEMMER: Such as?

CLUNE: I think some of the issues on how he litigated some of the rape shield issues. I think that's probably the most significant thing that they would take a second look at and change their practice.

But in terms of the DA's office, the one thing that you need from your DA's office who's prosecuting one of these cases is a true and complete commitment to seek the truth. And we did feel our DA's office. ...

HEMMER: Did either one of you try and talk this woman out of backing out on the criminal side?

WOOD: This decision was made by this young girl. Obviously, we had a duty to recommend to her what we thought was in her best interests, but this was ultimately her decision.

And remember this: She was prepared to go forward with the criminal case, even though she recognized, as John has said some time ago, that the criminal justice system in Eagle [Colorado] had miserably failed her, and she had serious doubts that she would be treated fairly.

If Kobe Bryant had not agreed to those words in a signed public statement, we would still have a criminal case being tried today. She would have gone forward, even knowing that, in that system, she was not going to be treated fairly.

I want to add one other thing to what John said, too, about the civil case and what it'll do to her. She knows that it will continue to keep out there in the public the discussion about her as a person and her private life. But you know, she's been there. The defense team has already taken this girl and drug her through the mud.

The civil case is going to turn, I think, the focus away from her, and it's going to turn the focus more on Kobe Bryant.

Because this criminal case has now been dismissed, Kobe Bryant cannot take the Fifth Amendment in the civil case. He will have to testify. We'll have an opportunity to cross-examine him in a deposition under oath. And I think that's going to change the focus of this case, when people start looking at him and looking at what happened in that hotel room that night.

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