CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

[Art Harris] Defense trying to oust white juror

September 13, 1995 -- 6 p.m. EDT

From Special Assignment Correspondent Art Harris

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - O.J. Simpson's defense team is trying to oust a white woman from the jury because she is perceived to be pro-prosecution and possibly biased because of her race, a defense source told CNN Wednesday.

The juror, a retired gas worker in her 60s, is among the most active note takers on the jury. Despite the apparent hardships of serving on the panel, she remains one of the few jurors who still smiles in court.

Earlier this week, Simpson defense attorney Robert Shapiro said the woman, who had complained about financial trouble with a rental property, should be dismissed rather than given state funds to bail her out.

[Ito] Ito said he had not yet decided whether to give the woman financial aid. He reminded Shapiro, however, that he had helped other jurors with special problems and had used state funds to send jurors out of state for funerals.

Shapiro said helping the woman would violate Simpson's right to a fair and impartial trial and that it would appear the court was favoring one juror. Shapiro also said the aid might give the juror a financial incentive to prolong the trial.

A defense source told CNN Simpson's lawyers are now worried that the juror has been pro-prosecution for some time. At first, the source said, the defense liked her because in her questionnaire she said she'd been the lone hold-out in a case and had turned a previous jury around to her point of view.

She didn't say what that verdict was. The defense now fears she might have turned her last jury's decision from acquittal to guilty.

[Shapiro] While Shapiro argued that a financial bailout arranged by Ito to help the juror could affect her neutrality and fairness in the Simpson case, the defense conceded that a major reason to get her off is her race. She is one of two white women on the jury; the other is in her early 20s. The panel also includes eight black women, a black man and a Hispanic man.

A prosecution source told CNN the attempt to bounce the juror is "just another defense move to play the race card." The source said prosecutors weren't concerned how she'd turned her last jury, even if it had been for acquittal, as long as she is fair.

"We need smart jurors who will try to understand what we feel is overwhelming evidence" against O.J. Simpson, the source said. "She's smart. We want smart jurors. The defense doesn't want anyone with brains because their case is just a pile of sludge."


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