Jing Tsong

Off Limits

Ever since sexual-assault accusations against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant came to light, the woman who made the allegation has been the talk of Eagle County, where she lives, and the media has been there to listen. Well over thirty locals claiming varying degrees of firsthand knowledge about the nineteen-year-old have shared their observations with the press thus far, and the number of supposed chums is increasing so rapidly that keeping track of who's who has been nearly impossible. So as a public service, we've assembled this handy sampler of prominent blabbers.

Sometimes you just can't tell the players without a program.

Samson Bartlett

Spoke to: The Early Show

Identified as: A "classmate" who's known the woman since elementary school, but says "we're just acquaintances . . ..I'm not that personally attached with her."

Observations: Says he believes Kobe Bryant is innocent because "he's had a flawless record his entire life. And the same, really, I don't believe, can be said for the alleged victim."

Quote: "I don't really want to get into it. It's more into personal stuff. It's not really for me to say."

Luke Bray

Spoke to: The Denver Post

Identified as: A "close friend" and "former high school classmate."

Observations: Said the woman had "obvious physical injuries" from the Kobe encounter that could still be seen three weeks later.

Quote: "I can't wait for this to get in front of a jury so they can see what happened. Their jaws will hit the floor, and they will convict him."

Starlene Bray

Spoke to: Good Morning America, Fox News and others

Identified as: The woman's "best friend, her lifelong friend," who, she told Diane Sawyer, is giving interviews because the accuser wanted her to "tell everybody who she was and what kind of a person she was, and to try to get the newspapers and everything like that to just settle down on her."

Observations: Said the woman had sought medical help following the death of another friend and a breakup, but felt her emotional fragility had no bearing on the Kobe case.

Quote: "You can look at her and tell she has been victimized."

Sara Dabner

Spoke to: The Associated Press, CBS's The Early Show

Identified as: A "friend" who "sang in the Eagle County High School choir with the woman."

Observations: Is certain the woman doesn't want attention for herself.

Quote: "Why would a woman put herself through all of this -- having people call her names? I think she just wants to see justice done."

Steve Evancho

Spoke to: NBC

Identified as: "Party host."

Observations: In the middle of a drinking game at a get-together he'd organized, Evancho asked the woman to describe Bryant's package. Said she did so, according to NBC, "with a gesture and a description."

Quote: "She was bragging about it."

Matt Herr

Spoke to: The New York Post

Identified as: "Ex-flame."

Observations: Is confident the woman in question wouldn't make up her Bryant accusation.

Quote: "All the people who say they are her friend...they're saying things that are not true."

Tyson Ivie

Spoke to: The Rocky Mountain News and more.

Identified as: "An assistant manager at the local Domino's pizza parlor" who said "he got to know the woman when he was on the football team and she was a cheerleader."

Observations: Called the woman "normal" and a "good girl," adding that the overdose was "a big secret."

Quote: "There just seems like there is a lot of things going wrong in her life."

Lindsey McKinney

Spoke to: The Orange County Register, among others.

Identified as: A "close friend" who "briefly lived with the victim's family earlier this year."

Observations: Confirmed to a Register reporter that the woman had overdosed on pills two months before the Bryant incident. Later told the Vail Daily that she had been "asleep and sick" when the reporter called and felt she'd been tricked into divulging the overdose.

Quote: "I don't think it was accidental. I was there."

Janelle Medina

Spoke to: The Los Angeles Times and pretty much anyone else with a pen or a microphone.

Identified as: "Attended Eagle Valley High School and was in the choir with the alleged victim."

Observations: Confirmed woman's name to syndicated radio host Tom Leykis, who is using it on the air. Also drove around Eagle with the following slogans scrawled on the windows of her Subaru: "KOBE IS INNOCENT. GO LAKERS! NO. 8! YEAH, BAABBEE!"

Quote: "People think they're going to sit around and voice their opinions. Well, I'm going to voice my opinions, too, on my car."

Ashley Scriver

Spoke to: Fox News, NBC and so on.

Identified as: A "friend" who "has known the woman for six years."

Observations: Said the woman expected the media frenzy that followed her accusation but went forward because Bryant needed to face repercussions for what he did.

Quote: "I know she had been going through a lot, but I know that she wouldn't lie."

Casey Strickler

Spoke to: Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, etc.

Identified as: A "friend" who "grew up through school" with the woman, singing in the choir and appearing with her in "fall musicals."

Observations: Got permission from the woman to fly to New York and defend her to Katie Couric.

Quote: "I called her and said, 'Do you mind if I go on?' And she said, 'I would appreciate it. So many people are talking about me, and they don't even know me.'"

Rachel Yandle

Spoke to: Today, the New York Daily News

Identified as: A "friend" who knew the woman "from school and choir and musicals, cheerleading. We went on a choir trip to California, and we were buddies the whole time."

Observations: After Bryant was charged with sexual assault, Yandle called and asked if she wanted to go see Bad Boys II.

Quote: "When CNN called my house and wanted to interview me, that's when I found out who it was."

Pick of the litter: Since the July 25 release of photographs featuring Saddam Hussein's dead sons Qusai and Odai, plenty of media organizations have given info junkies a chance to check out the pics. But only the Rocky Mountain News briefly allowed Web surfers to choose which shot they liked best. The images were initially accompanied on www.rockymountainnnews.com by the phrase "Select your favorite photo below, then click the VOTE button."

According to Mike Noe, the Rocky's Internet news editor, the slide show application used to display the pictures includes the vote feature. About twenty minutes after the photos went live, several people in the newsroom realized that, in this case, it shouldn't have. "We thought, 'Crap! We've got to take that down!'" says Noe, who adds that a switch has now been placed on the application to turn the voting option on and off.

Unfortunately, no results were recorded. Our money was on Odai.


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