CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

Fuhrman takes the stand, takes the Fifth

September 6, 1995 - 8 p.m. EDT

[Fuhrman on the stand with his lawyer] LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Former Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions during a brief return to the O.J. Simpson trial Wednesday.

When the somber-looking Fuhrman took the stand, he was asked by defense attorney Gerald Uelmen if the testimony he had given at the preliminary hearing in the case was completely truthful. Fuhrman replied, "I wish to assert my Fifth Amendment privilege." He gave the same reply when asked by Uelman if he had ever falsified a police report.

Fuhrman replied "yes" when asked if he would give the same response to any further questions. Uelmen then asked, "Did you plant or manufacture any evidence in this case?" Fuhrman looked to his attorney, then replied, "I wish to assert my Fifth Amendment privilege." (75k .aiff sound file)

Fuhrman's attorney told the court he had advised his client not to answer any questions in the case after. Fuhrman's appearance followed arguments on a renewed motion by the defense to suppress evidence gathered at Simpson's house the morning after the murders.

Uelmen argued for the defense that it should have the right to call Fuhrman back to the stand and confront him with incriminating statements he made during taped conversations with screenwriter Laura Hart McKinny. Uelmen told Ito he wanted to ask Fuhrman about seven incidents on the tapes that relate to probable cause. Uelmen said that in light of what is now known about the tapes, Fuhrman's credibility "stands alone."

He said Fuhrman was alone on several key occasions, including when the blood specks were found on the Bronco, and when the glove was found behind the guest house. "We think credibility determinations are based on the demeanor of the witness, the factual accuracy of his account ... everything on the tape goes directly to his testimony in this case," Uelmen said.

Prosecutor Sheri Lewis argued that Fuhrman was trying to impress the writer of a Hollywood screenplay and that there is no trustworthiness to his statements. She said even if Fuhrman felt that way in 1985, there was no proof he felt that way in 1994. Lewis said Fuhrman's accounts were corroborated by other police detectives.

Uelmen said the only way to determine what Fuhrman was thinking was to put him on the stand and question him. At that point, Darryl Mounger, Fuhrman's criminal attorney, asked the court to provide the list of questions Fuhrman would be asked by the defense on cross-examination.

Uelmen said he didn't think a witness was entitled to see a list of questions ahead of time, but Ito pointed out that the issues had just been discussed in open court. Uelmen then turned over the questions.

After a recess Mounger returned to court and said Fuhrman would take the Fifth Amendment, but Uelmen said he wanted to hear that from Fuhrman himself.


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