Judge allows new shoe photo in Simpson trial
January 6, 1997
SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- New photographs showing O.J. Simpson wearing Bruno Magli shoes at a 1993 Buffalo Bills game were shown to the jury after Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki ruled Monday they were admissible.
Lawyers for the families suing Simpson showed several color photographs that showed the former sportscaster wearing a pair of Bruno Magli shoes, the type experts believed left prints at the scene where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were found killed.
Besides four full photos, two contact sheets showing 30 photos of Simpson apparently wearing the shoes were also shown to the jury hearing the wrongful death civil case. Three of the four photos were enlarged to show just the shoes.
All photos were shown to a defense photographic expert, Robert Groden, who had labeled a previous photo of Simpson apparently wearing the shoes a "probable fraud."
Groden repeated that assertion Monday about the original photo, saying there was a greater than 90 percent probabilty it had been doctored. But then Groden was confronted with new photos taken the same day at the same event - a Buffalo Bills game in 1993 - but by a different photographer.
"It doesn't change my opinion," said Groden.
Testimony and proceedings at Simpson's wrongful-death trial resumed after a 2 1/2-week holiday recess.
Defense attorney Dan Leonard had argued unsuccessfully to have the new photos excluded, saying the defense would need a two-week recess in order to investigate the photographs and depose the man who took the pictures.
Leonard said the defense would attack the authenticity of the photos and said the agent who sold the earlier photograph to the tabloids was also handling the sale of the new photographs.
But saying the defense had been "caught red-handed," plaintiff attorney Daniel Petrocelli argued the new photos should be permitted to rebut claims by the defense that the first photo was a fake.
"This is about as pure impeachment as you can find, your honor," Petrocelli said, adding that the photos "directly destroy the representations they made to the jury."
Leonard then claimed the plaintiffs were attempting to "sandbag" the defense, to which Judge Fujisaki replied, "That's usually what impeachment amounts to, counsel."
Leonard indicated the defense may file a written motion to try again to have the photographs excluded.
Experts at Simpson's criminal trial testified bloody shoe prints left at the murder scene were left by a relatively rare pair of Bruno Magli shoes. Simpson has denied ever owning a pair of the expensive Italian shoes.
Also Monday, the defense elicted testimony from a retired LAPD detective to back up their assertion that Nicole Brown Simpson was involved in illegal drug use.
Former detective Paul Tippin testified that he interviewed O.J. Simpson houseguest Kato Kaelin on the afternoon of June 13, 1994, the day after the killings.
Under questioning by Leonard, Tippin was asked about an notation he made during that interview. The notation read, "Friends - Nicole - use coke." Leonard asked what it meant.
Tippin responded he had asked Kaelin about Nicole's lifestyle and whether there was any use of narcotics.
"And he said she used coke," Tippin replied.
The notation was followed by a list of names Kaelin provided of Nicole's closest friends.
Under cross-examination, plaintiff attorney Peter Gelblum seemingly tried to shift the drug use from Nicole to her friends. Gelblum asked Tippin if Kaelin also claimed Nicole's friend, Cora Fischman, used cocaine. The defense objected and the judge did not allow Tippin to answer.
Fischman is expected to testify for the defense later this week.
O.J. Simpson was cleared in 1995 of criminal charges in the June 12, 1994, slayings. But the victims' families claim he is liable for the deaths.
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