Judge limits use of testimony about battered woman's callDecember 5, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EST
SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- Trying to avoid grounds for an appeal, the judge in O.J. Simpson's wrongful-death trial warned jurors Thursday not to consider testimony about a call from "Nicole" to a battered women's shelter as evidence that Simpson stalked or threatened his ex-wife.
Nancy Ney, an employee of the shelter, testified Wednesday that she thought the caller was Nicole Brown Simpson, because of the tone of her voice and her description of her husband. The testimony could be damaging to Simpson, because he testified he never hit Nicole during their marriage.
Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki restricted the jurors' use of the call during deliberations, saying they could not consider it as "evidence of any event," but only as an indication of Ms. Simpson's state of mind before she was killed.
Legal experts said Fujisaki's decision to allow Ney's testimony gave Simpson grounds for appeal if he loses the lawsuit.
A criminal trial jury last year found Simpson innocent of the stabbing deaths of Ms. Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. But the victims' families sued Simpson, claiming he is responsible for their murders.
Thursday's instructions from Fujisaki came as plaintiffs' attorneys read snippets of deposition testimony in an effort to pique jurors' suspicions about Simpson.
For instance, they read deposition comments from Dr. Lenore Walker, a domestic violence expert who interviewed O.J. Simpson as a consultant to the criminal defense team, in an attempt to show that Simpson had listened to a message from his girlfriend, Paula Barbieri, on the day of the killings.
Walker's notes quote Simpson as saying that Barbieri was upset with him that day. Simpson has said he did not talk to Barbieri that day or get a message she left for him.
CNN's Greta Van Susteren said Fred Goldman may testify Friday as the plaintiffs wind up their portion of the case.
Correspondent Anne McDermott contributed to this report
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