OJ lawyers score few points with racism claim

No one can second-guess a jury, but legal opinion yesterday was leaning heavily towards the view that OJ Simpson's prosecutors have emerged triumphant from what threatened to be the stormiest and most precarious chapter in the double-murder trial.

For more than three days, F Lee Bailey, billed as one of America's most formidable courtroom brawlers, sparred with Mark Fuhrman, a Los Angeles police detective, whom the defence is trying to portray as a racist who framed the former football star.

But the showdown produced few bruises and no knock-out blow. Mr Fuhrman walked away from the witness box calmly, having weathered question after question about his alleged racism, without losing his composure or wavering in his denials.

It was only round one. But from early on, Mr Simpson's "Dream Team" of lawyers have built much of their case around the theory that the detective was so racist and so opposed to interracial couples that he was willing to go to great lengths to set up the black celebrity.

After failing to dent Mr Fuhrman during cross-examination, they are now talking of producing a parade of witnesses who will contradict him, shoring up their effort to prove to a black-dominated jury that Mr Simpson was the victim of a familiar affliction, a racist Los Angeles police department.

Matters are not helped by the tendency of their potential witnesses to fizzle out in a puff of self-contradiction. The latest was Max Cordoba, a Marine, who this week appeared on television saying Mr Fuhrman once called him a "a nigger" and "boy". The claim angered prosecutors, because he had told them he had never heard the detective make racist remarks. Mr Cordoba explained this away by saying the incident had come back to him in a dream.

Trial-watchers are accusing the defence of clutching at straws, pointing to the scatter-gun approach of Mr Simpson's lawyers.

If you knit together the threads that they have spun to weave doubt in the jury's minds, a bizarre storyline emerges:

r OJ Simpson was too crippled with arthritis to stab to death his ex- wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her waiter friend, Ronald Goldman.

r He was at home when the killings happened: Rosa Lopez, the next-door- neighbour's maid, saw his car parked outside his house at around the same time, although she's no longer sure when.

r The murders could have been the work of drug gangsters who went to Mrs Simpson's house, perhaps because her friend, Faye Resnick, a confessed cocaine user who had stayed there briefly, had welshed on a payment.

r The police arrived, including Mr Fuhrman, who spirited a bloody glove away by stuffing it in his sock, barged on to Mr Simpson's property and planted it behind a wall. This was because he was racist, or resentful about being bounced off the homicide investigation, or both. He took this risk although he is unlikely to have known if there were eye-witnesses or if Mr Simpson had an alibi.

The defence is not necessarily arguing that all these things happened, just that some of them could have. But, at this stage in the proceedings, it is fair to say that if you tried hawking their storyline around Hollywood, it would hit the wastepaper basket faster than F Lee Bailey can shout "Objection, your honour!"

n A fifth juror was dismissed from the Simpson panel yesterday. Judge Lance Ito did not disclose the reason, but there was an unconfirmed report in the New York Daily News that computer files had been found indicating that the juror, a 52-year-old teacher, of mixed race, was writing a book about the case. He was replaced by a 60-year-old white woman, bringing the make-up of the panel to eight blacks, three whites and one Hispanic.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12Months

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12 Months | 500/...

Business Systems Analyst - London - £40,000 plus benefits

£35000 - £40000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Business Syst...

Campaign Manager

£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Campaign Man...

JQuery Developer (JQuery, C#, front-end, JQuery, UI, Tomcat)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organ...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil