July 14 — We now know what Kobe Bryant is saying, but what does the other player in this case have to say? The alleged victim’s story is now getting out with some help from some of the people who know her best. The alleged victims’ friends, Rachael Yandle and Casey Strickler, spoke with Dan Abrams on ‘The Abrams Report” Monday.
RACHAEL YANDLE, ALLEGED VICTIM’S FRIEND: We went on a choir trip to California and we were buddies together. We were in a musical together. We were cheerleading together. We’re also just friends. We hang out a lot on the weekends and stuff.
DAN ABRAMS: What is she like?
YANDLE: She’s a really nice girl. She’s really dedicated, talented musically, outgoing, overall just an awesome person.
ABRAMS: Someone who might make up a story like this?
YANDLE: Really don’t have a strong opinion either way, but I know I don’t see her making up anything, especially such a strong and a big thing that’s going on right now. I don’t see anyone making up something like that, and I have faith in her and I believe if she says it happened, I believe her. I have faith in what she says.
ABRAMS: But you say you have no strong opinion. You know, you know her pretty well. I have friends, for example. I could tell you there are certain friends, I could tell you unequivocally “This is someone, couldn’t have happened. There’s no way this person could make something up like this.” Would you say that about this friend? Or would you say this is someone who, I don’t know, maybe could do something like this.
YANDLE: Well, I don’t like what they’re doing, like judging people or judging her just because she’s not a star. And knowing her, I don’t think she would make this up.
ABRAMS: Casey, you talked to her after this happened, right? Tell me what she told you.
CASEY STRICKLER, ALLEGED VICTIM’S FRIEND: Well we try not to talk about it too much because I knew that she’s been dealing with it a lot. So we kind of have small chat about our lives and just how it’s, you know, our lives have been going. But, then did I ask her just what had happened and I told her I didn’t want her to go into detail because I know it would be hard for her. She pretty much said that it happened.
ABRAMS: What did she say it was?
STRICKLER: It was more than assault and-so I just-but I didn’t want her to give me details or anything because I know it’s hard for her.
ABRAMS: Did she tell you anything else about the details of what happened? I mean what he did to her? How it happened?
STRICKLER: No. No, I didn’t ask.
ABRAMS: Because I’d heard you say on the “Today” show this morning that it had gone all the way. I wanted to make sure I understood what that meant, meaning it was an entire sexual assault.
STRICKLER: Pretty much, yes.
ABRAMS: Janelle Medina, a high school classmate says, “I’ve known her for eight years. I don’t believe she’s telling the truth. She always had to be the center of attention. She wants a spotlight on her all the time. She told me once that she’d do anything it took to get famous, and I think this is just a publicity stunt for her, something for her to get money and for her to get fame.”
I don’t know if you know her, but you heard what she said. What do you make of that statement?
STRICKLER: You know Janelle didn’t go to school with us. And you know, in this kind of situation, there are so many people who either pretend to be her best friend or they pretend that they know everything about her just because they want to obviously talk. You know, it’s a huge deal for us to have all these reporters in town. I don’t know. That was harsh. I don’t think that she has room to say something like that because she doesn’t...
YANDLE: She doesn’t even know… They’re not friends and she doesn’t even really know her so I don’t think she has a right to say that statement at all.
ABRAMS: Do you have complete faith knowing your friend the way do you, that what she is saying about what happened with Kobe Bryant is true?
STRICKLER: We’re not best friends. We remain acquaintances like with music because we’ve done so many musicals together and choir for a long time, and we’ve been on a couple trips together. And from what I know of her, she would not lie about something like this. It’s a huge thing to lie about. You have to know going into something like this how much is involved.
ABRAMS: Casey, you know she tried out for “American Idol” and that’s been something people have made quite a bit about. What do you make of that?
STRICKLER: I would say that I was going to do it, too. I was going to do “American Idol” also because at our age, it’s exciting. And if you have a musical talent of any sort, or think you do even, you’re going to want to try to get it out there. And so I know there’s been a lot of comments that she did that. So, is she doing this for fame? But no, this is totally different, like “American Idol” is something that a lot of people, thousands of teens have gone to do that. So just because they’ve all done it, does that mean that they would stretch themselves to these limits just to get fame?
ABRAMS: Rachel, finally, anything happening in your friend’s life before all this happened that might provide some perspective as to where she was mentally?
YANDLE: She was a little depressed because she lost one of her good friends a little less than a month ago and her and her boyfriend broke up not too long ago also. So, she was already not doing very well.
STRICKLER: That wouldn’t cause her to lie about something.
YANDLE: Yes, that would definitely not cause her to make this up.
ABRAMS: Casey Strickler and Rachael Yandle, thanks a lot for coming on the program. We appreciate it.
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