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One more legal motion precedes start of Simpson trial

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October 23, 1996
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EDT

SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- At least one more legal motion stands in the way of opening statements in the wrongful death civil trial against O.J. Simpson scheduled to begin Wednesday.

On Tuesday, attorneys representing Goldman's father filed a motion to prevent the defense from mentioning former LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman's perjury conviction -- or the fact that he may be a witness in this case -- during the opening statement. The plaintiffs argued that Fuhrman, because he now lives out of state, cannot be compelled to testify at the civil trial.

Fuhrman

Fuhrman, who discovered key evidence in the case, pleaded no contest to charges that he committed perjury during Simpson's murder trial. During the trial, Fuhrman testified that he had not used a racial epithet in the past 10 years, but tapes recorded by an aspiring screenwriter indicated he had lied.

The jury acquitted Simpson on charges of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Simpson's attorneys, in court documents released Tuesday, argued that Fuhrman's conviction is "directly relevant to the veracity of his conduct and investigation." The defense said the judge relied on that conviction when he ruled last week to allow the defense to argue that some of the evidence in the case was planted.

Goldman's attorneys also asked Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki to inform the jurors prior to opening statements that there is a lower burden of proof in a civil trial and that the verdict in the criminal case has no impact on the civil case.

Simpson's attorneys countered that such an instruction would be "improper."

Fujisaki is expected to rule quickly on the motion so that opening statements can get under way..

Court papers released Tuesday also indicate the defense has asked the judge to exclude the plaintiff's expert witness on the blood preservative EDTA because they have not been given the opportunity to depose him. The presence of EDTA in blood evidence was crucial to the defense argument in the criminal trial that blood was planted by the police to incriminate the former football star.

During the criminal trial, the defense argued that the presence of EDTA in some of the blood collected from the crime scene was proof that it had been planted after a sample was taken from Simpson. Another EDTA expert, who testified during the criminal trial for the prosecution, said EDTA levels were negligible and could be explained by the preservative's presence in many household substances.

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