Kobe's Law Firm Swamped with Calls After 'Update' Joke

By Steve Lipsher,
Denver Post - 10/14/03

Kobe Bryant's Denver law firm was besieged by telephone calls Monday after a skit on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" mocked defense attorney Pamela Mackey for repeatedly mentioning the accuser's name last week in court.

Tina Fey, the comedian who serves as co-anchor on the show's satirical "Weekend Update" newscast, took aim at Mackey's slip-ups during Bryant's preliminary hearing Thursday on a charge of sexual assault.

"The preliminary hearing in Kobe Bryant's rape trial turned ugly on Thursday when Pamela Mackey, Bryant's lawyer, accidentally said his accuser's name in court, violating Colorado privacy laws," Fey said.

"And after being admonished by the judge," Fey continued, "Mackey went on to repeat the woman's name five times. Which is really bad, 'cause what lawyer Pamela Mackey did by mentioning the woman's name, is to put her at risk of further harassment. A lawyer - like Pamela Mackey of the Colorado firm Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey and Foreman, which is probably in the 303 area code - should know that people can look up a name, like Joe Smith or Pamela Mackey, on the Internet and learn everything about them."

By early Monday, a receptionist said the firm had been receiving numerous phone calls; requests to be put through to Mackey's answering machine were denied outright.

No one at the firm responded to repeated requests for comment.

Bryant, 25, is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old employee of the upscale Lodge & Spa at Cordillera near Edwards on June 30, when he was in the area for minor knee surgery.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard's preliminary hearing is slated to continue Wednesday. Judge Fred Gannett broke off Thursday's proceedings amid a bitter dispute between attorneys over another statement by Mackey.

At one point, Gannett jokingly suggested getting Mackey a muzzle.

Marc Leipis, a spokesman for "Saturday Night Live," declined to comment other than to say, "The joke speaks for itself."

"SNL" fans, meanwhile, seemed more interested in the performance of guest host Justin Timberlake in their chat on show-review websites.

One reviewer using the screen name Sam on the fan forum at the unaffiliated www.saturday-night-live.com website, said the joke was stupid.

"The whole time, I, and probably everybody else, was thinking, 'Anyone could find her name and contact her anyways without her repeating her name over and over again.' It made no sense at all. They should have come up with a better way of making fun of her."

Another fan, who identified herself in an e-mail response to The Denver Post as Las Vegas attorney Kelly-Anne Magnusson Figueroa, noted that the joke turned the tables, since Bryant's accuser previously has been the subject of death threats.

Thursday's hearing ended abruptly when Mackey raised the prospect that the woman's injuries could have been caused by sleeping with "three men in three days," sparking an objection from prosecutors and an immediate denial from the woman's attorney.