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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Is Race an Issue in Kobe Bryant Case?

Aired August 7, 2003 - 19:10   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to touch briefly on the Kobe Bryant case tonight. New numbers are out on how African- Americans and white Americans view the case. And to say the least, there is a difference.
CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Eagle, Colorado, tonight to add up and break down the complex equation -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, hello.

We don't know if the issue of race will come up during this case. We do know, though, it's an active possibility. Just this past weekend, Kobe Bryant paraphrased Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while he was defending himself. And, indeed, we know that whites and blacks do see this case differently.

We just conducted a poll, a CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll. Respondents were asked this question in July and August: What do you think of the charges against Kobe Bryant? Forty percent of whites think they are true; 51 percent of whites say untrue. But far fewer African-Americans think they are true, with 24 percent saying true, 68 percent saying they are untrue.

Then this question: How do you feel towards Kobe Bryant? Forty percent of whites say sympathetic; 49 percent of whites say unsympathetic. Far more blacks are sympathetic, 63 percent saying they sympathize, 31 percent of African-Americans saying they are unsympathetic.

Yesterday, Kobe Bryant had his initial appearance in court right here behind me, sat in the courtroom for a grand total of seven minutes. A preliminary hearing date was set up for October 9. By the way, about 150 people outside, members of the public, most of them cheering Kobe Bryant when he walked in and walked out.

The preliminary hearing will be very important. It will be there that the prosecution will have to lay out some of the evidence it has in this case. At that point, the judge will decide if there is probable cause to bound it over for trial. We do want to tell you, you know the cameras were in the courtroom yesterday. That's why you were able to watch it. That doesn't mean necessarily that cameras will be in the courtroom for the preliminary hearing.

We talked to the judge today. He said he'll decide that no earlier than the first week of September -- Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right, Gary, fascinating poll numbers. Gary Tuchman, thanks very much, from Eagle, Colorado.

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