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
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
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
Latest stories from i100
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

Systems Analyst (Technical, UML, UI)

£30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn