CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

In unusual twist, rebuttal under way before defense wraps

bloody gloves

September 12, 1995
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EDT

From Correspondents Anne McDermott and Marc Watts

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The prosecution's rebuttal case is under way at the O.J. Simpson trial, even though the defense has not yet wrapped up its case. And prosecutors are again focusing on some key physical evidence.

In a Tuesday morning hearing to determine the scope of the prosecution rebuttal case, prosecutors are grappling with the infamous bloody glove, hoping for better results this time around. The issue at hand: glove pictures they want to present.

It all began when attorney Johnnie Cochran said he would appeal a higher court ruling that prevents O.J. Simpson's jurors from learning that former detective Mark Fuhrman took the fifth on the witness stand.

Judge Lance Ito forced the prosecution to proceed with its rebuttal after allowing the defense not to rest, pending an appeal of rulings involving former police detective Mark Fuhrman.

M. Clark Witness Simpson gloves

Defense attorneys have indicated that they will fight several aspects of the planned rebuttal, including testimony regarding Simpson's flight from police on June 17, 1994, and the subsequent low-speed Bronco chase.

Prosecutors have said they will call several people who were at Simpson friend Robert Kardashian's home the morning Simpson fled. They also say they want to question Simpson's personal attorney and assistant about money the two took out of Simpson's safe deposit box shortly after he left Kardashian's home with friend A.C. Cowlings. Cowlings, however, is not on the rebuttal witness list.

The defense will also argue against the admittance of an FBI report regarding the rarity of the carpet fibers from Simpson's Bronco. Fibers were found on the glove found at Simpson's estate and the cap found at the Bundy crime scene. According to prosecutors, the FBI report strengthens the conclusion that those fibers came from Simpson's Bronco.

During the prosecution's case, Ito did not allow FBI agent Doug Deedrick to testify about the report because it had not been turned over to the defense. Prosecutors intend to argue to have the evidence admitted during rebuttal.

This latest twist in the Simpson trial, with prosecutors beginning rebuttal before the defense wraps, is unusual, but not unheard of in court cases.

It all began Monday when defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. said he would appeal a higher court ruling that prevents jurors from learning that Fuhrman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the witness stand.

As he waited on that, prosecutor Marcia Clark introduced a witness who may help explain why those bloody gloves seemed small when Simpson tried them on in court. According to witness Mark Krueger, a man who took photographs of Simpson wearing similar gloves, the gloves looked small to begin with.

Monday was a day that didn't start out well for the Simpson team members, who came to court with a lot of requests -- all of which were turned down. Among their demands: throw out evidence of Fuhrman's discovery of the bloody glove at Simpson's estate.

But Ito said the glove stays and he also said the jurors will not hear that Fuhrman took the Fifth earlier this month, when he was questioned by the defense about a variety of matters including, whether or not he planted that glove. Of course, that may change, depending on the outcome of the defense's appeal.

Ito also ruled that Fuhrman cannot be recalled to the stand. Clark had strongly opposed such a recall.

Also in response to another defense request, the judge said he had no power to grant Fuhrman immunity from prosecution for perjury. The perjury possibility arose after Fuhrman swore last March that he did not use a racial slur against African-Americans and then was recently heard on tape using that slur.

Scheck with tie

The defense appeared to begin Monday on an optimistic note, with five members of the team, Barry Scheck, Robert Blasier, Peter Neufeld, F. Lee Bailey and Robert Kardashian, wearing the same style tie. The symbolism was to show the unity of the defense team -- in the wake of comments that seemed to indicate they disagreed on whether Simpson should take the stand.

Tuesday marks the 147th day of Simpson's trial on charges that he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. After morning hearings on DNA results and the scope of the prosecution's rebuttal, testimony will resume. Richard Rubin, the former vice president of Aris Isotoner, is expected to return to the stand to comment on the similarity between the gloves in the pictures and those found at the murder site.

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