If Oksana Grigorieva never gets the justice she feels she deserves, sharing her story on CNN will just have to do.
Attorney Dan Horowitz told E! News Wednesday that his client agreed to a Larry King Live interview so that people will "know how compelling the evidence is," even if Mel Gibson is never charged with domestic violence.
And true or not, this is indeed some compelling stuff.
"Jan. 6, this year, the beating took place," Grigorieva recalls in the interview that aired tonight. "Mel actually assaulted me while I was holding the baby in my arms...I ran into my son's bedroom and told him, 'Mel's crazy.' "
She says that her 12-year-old son, Alexander (with actor Timothy Dalton), hid behind the bed as she stood there with Lucia, "like a mother protecting her cubs."
He came into the room "and struck me twice," she continues. "He wasn't drunk. He hit me, and choked me in front of my son and brandished a gun at me."
Gibson was apologizing by the very next day, promising to get "treated" and "be evaluated," Grigorieva says.
In a signed declaration, one of the supposedly sealed documents from their family court case that have been leaked to the press, Gibson admitted to slapping, but not striking, his ex.
According to the actor, they fought and Grigorieva grabbed Lucia out of her bassinet and started running. "Her rapid movements were causing Lucia's little body to be flung from one side to the other, her head shaking violently...I slapped Oksana one time with an open hand in an attempt to bring her back to reality," Gibson stated. "I did not slap her hard. I was just trying to shock her so that she would stop screaming, continuing shaking Lucia back and forth."
Either way, Grigorieva tells King that she feared for her life afterward and ended up taping Gibson on the phone because she thought she wouldn't "live through the night," because he threatened to come over and kill her.
"I wanted my mother to be able to prove that, if I'm dead, that this is who did it," she says.
And as if the recordings that made it online weren't disturbing enough, Grigorieva says she has "nonedited" tapes that are "unforgivable."
Having said her decision to speak out was all about this issue of domestic violence and her daughter, Grigorieva says she thinks victims of abuse are "really decent human beings."
"They cover up for perpetrators, they're trying to help them," she says. "In the back of my mind, I thought, If I don't killed tonight, I'd like him to hear what he sounds like, to get...better."
"I wanted to help him, as strange as that may sound."
Martin Garbus, the attorney who joined her on the air, explained that it is legal to record people without their knowledge in California if one feels his or her life is being threatened or if there are "illegal connotations" in the conversation.
When asked how the tapes got released, Grigorieva says, "I have no idea. They were in possession of my lawyers and the court."
She says he called her 30 or 40 times in one night, and she recorded him eight or nine times.
Meanwhile, Gibson has accused Grigorieva of making the tapes to extort money from him.
"We think the extortion charges are retaliatory for the domestic violence case," Horowitz told E! News. "She talks about why she made the tapes. She was fearful and wanted [Gibson] to change. She wasn't trying to extort him."
"I never have extorted him," she says on TV tonight.
Grigorieva admits that not breaking up with Gibson after he supposedly became violent was a mistake.
"I stayed for a little bit too long," she says. "I gave him last chance. He asked me for the last chance. He begged. He cried. He cried on his knees. What am I supposed to do?"
"At the beginning of our relationship, he said, 'There's a dark side of me I don't want you to see,' " Grigorieva tells King, who asks her multiple times about Gibson's drinking.
"No liquor, not once," she insists, maintaining that Gibson never drank around her.
"As a human being, as the mother of his child, I would forgive him, but he really needs to come and acknowledge what he's done and what he's doing," she says.
--Additional reporting by Soo Youn