Second OJ case kicks off

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The Independent Online
Santa Monica, California (AP) - A year and 20 days after millions watched a jury acquit OJ Simpson of murder, only a handful gathered yesterday to watch opening statements in his civil trial.

They began with lawyers spelling out for a mostly white jury what the evidence will show during the trial, expected to last four months.

Mr Simpson, 49, was acquitted last October of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Ms Simpson's estate and Mr Goldman's family are suing Mr Simpson for unspecified damages, claiming he is the killer.

Prior to opening statements, Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki was to consider some lingering legal issues, including a plaintiff request that jurors not be told about the no-contest plea to perjury by the former detective Mark Fuhrman, relating to his use of the word "nigger".