Simpson's vehicle, piano focus of court battle
Goldman family wants items seized and soldAugust 7, 1997
Web posted at: 9:52 p.m. EDT (0152 GMT)
SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- Should O.J Simpson's $40,000 Ford Expedition and a Yamaha baby grand piano be sold to satisfy a portion of the $33.5 million civil judgment against him?
That was the issue in a California courtroom Thursday, as attorneys for the former football star -- found liable in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman -- argued that the goods should not be seized and sold.
Simpson said he was given the new sport utility vehicle by his family for his 50th birthday in July. He said he and Nicole gave the piano to his mother as a gift at least a decade ago.
It was kept at his Rockingham estate, and not at her home in San Francisco, so she could play it when she visited, he said.
But Gary Caris, a lawyer for Ron Goldman's father, argued in court that the items are Simpson possessions that should be sold to pay off the judgment. Last week, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies seized the piano from Simpson's estate, pending resolution of the case.
Simpson also had been ordered to turn over the vehicle by Thursday's hearing. Simpson's attorney Ron Slates said Simpson would not turn over the vehicle to the court as ordered. Slates did not elaborate as to why.
Although Superior Court Judge David Perez did not issue a final ruling Thursday, he did say that, based on statements from Simpson's family and friends, he was leaning toward ruling that the piano was a gift to Simpson's mother and will likely be exempt from seizure.
Caris then requested more time to cross-examine family members and present other evidence. Another hearing was set for August 21.
Car dealer testifies
Car dealer Bernie Woods testified about a lease deal that he executed with O.J. Simpson's mother, Eunice Simpson, for the Ford Expedition. Woods said it was his understanding that the car was meant as a gift to O.J. Simpson. It was delivered on Simpson's birthday.
Eunice Simpson testified that she borrowed the $2,000 down payment for the lease from her sister and members of her church. She said she authorized her daughter, Shirley Baker, to negotiate the lease deal, which requires payments of $590 a month.
Woods said Baker approached him about leasing the car. But under cross-examination from Caris, he admitted that he struck up a friendship with Simpson about three months ago and had played golf with him several times.
"Is it your testimony that you never discussed getting a vehicle for O.J. Simpson with O.J. Simpson?" Caris asked.
"That's my testimony," Woods replied.
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