Los Angeles - The judge in the OJ Simpson murder case rejected an attempt by the defence to throw out a bloody glove and other evidence gathered without a warrant at the estate of the former American-football star.
Judge Lance Ito said Detective Mark Fuhrman's explanation for entering the estate without a search warrant could be trusted and that his evidence was supported by other witnesses. The ruling came a day after Mr Fuhrman - who has been criticised for making racist remarks - refused to answer a question about whether he had planted evidence. He cited the Fifth Amendment, which permits people to refuse to make self-incriminating comments.
Judge Ito ruled that taped interviews containing Mr Fuhrman's racist remarks did not mean an earlier decision allowing evidence found on Mr Simpson's property a day after the murders should be reversed.
In the wake of the judge's decision one of Mr Simpson's prominent lawyers said the defence had no plans to call Mr Simpson to the witness stand. "I didn't see what was left to be gained,'' said F Lee Bailey, "when you have the chief witness, a law enforcement officer, refusing to testify because he might incriminate himself."
Mr Simpson is accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in June 1994 outside Ms Simpson's Los Angeles home. Attorneys for Mr Simpson say Mr Fuhrman is a racist who placed a bloody glove at Mr Simpson's estate to make him appear guilty. The tapes are from Mr Fuhrman's interviews with an aspiring screenwriter who was working on a project about the Los Angeles Police Department. The defence says that they cast doubt on whether Mr Fuhrman was telling the truth about why he entered the estate without a warrant. On the tapes he told how evidence can be manipulated, although he did not suggest that evidence in the Simpson case was fabricated.
Judge Ito said Mr Fuhrman's credibility remained intact.
Mr Fuhrman's lawyer, Darryl Mounger, publicly apologized yesterday for the racial comments his client, who has retired from the police department, made during the taped interviews between 1985 and 1994. "All I can tell you is that Mark Fuhrman regrets the inconvenience and harm that he has caused a lot of innocent people to suffer," Mr Mounger told KCBS-TV. "... He's sorry, and I don't know if that's enough."