Simpson attorneys join Haitian immigrant's legal fight
August 30, 1997
Web posted at: 11:42 a.m. EDT (1542 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A host of former defense attorneys for O.J.
Simpson have joined the legal team representing a Haitian
immigrant whose allegations of police brutality in New York
have prompted outrage against the city's police.
Johnnie Cochran, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld will aid
Abner Louima, who has filed a $55 million civil suit against
the city. His attorneys have said they intend to increase
that amount to $465 million.
Scheck, a DNA expert, and Neufeld gained fame in Simpson's
criminal trial by critiquing DNA exhibits and attacking the
police department's handling of critical evidence.
Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of killing his ex-wife, Nicole
Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
Neufeld told CNN on Friday that he and the other lawyers
would work with attorneys Louima had already hired in seeking
justice. He added that Louima's family sought Cochran because
of his expertise in handling police brutality cases.
Although Neufeld acknowledged the group's O.J.-related
celebrity, he insisted the "personalities are of no great
moment" in the Louima case.
"Let the issues speak for themselves," he said.
Louima, 30, has accused Brooklyn police officers of jamming a
toilet plunger into his rectum and mouth on August 9, after
he was arrested on disorderly conduct charges. The charges
against him were later dropped. Louima, who suffered a
ruptured bladder and colon, remains hospitalized.
Prosecutors have charged four officers in the alleged attack.
Neufeld, who along with Scheck has dealt with numerous civil
rights and police brutality cases, refused to comment on how,
or if, DNA might figure in the Louima case, saying it was too
early to discuss any specifics.