CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

Simpson defense seeks more witnesses

September 18, 1995
Web Posted at : 4:08 pm EDT

Johnnie Cochran LOS ANGELES (CNN) - O.J. Simpson's defense team wants to call a reputed Mafia informer and his brother to the stand before it rests its case. Before testimony resumed Monday, Johnnie Cochran told Judge Lance Ito he had seven more witnesses to call during rebuttal, including "the Fiato brothers."

He said he was putting the prosecution on notice that he also wants five other witnesses made available to the defense: Los Angeles Police Detective Philip Vannatter, FBI special agent Roger Martz, FBI agent Michael Wachs, Gary Sims of the California Department of Justice Crime Lab and Dale Davidson of the district attorney's office.

A third FBI agent, Frederic Whitehurst, already has agreed to testify and met with attorneys for both sides over the weekend. Ito has yet to rule on whether his testimony is relevant.

Anthony Fiato, who became a police informant and ultimately testified against other reputed Mafia members, is expected to be called about comments allegedly made by Vannatter. Cochran did not give Fiato's brother's name and didn't say what the defense wanted to question him about.

Defense sources say the comments made by Vannatter prove that Simpson was already a suspect when police scaled his wall and entered his property in the early hours after the bodies were discovered. Vannatter maintains that police went to Simpson's residence only to inform him of the murder and to check on his welfare.

Prosecution sources have told CNN that if any remark was made, Vannatter doesn't remember it and it was probably done sarcastically. Those sources said police never considered Simpson a suspect until they found at his estate the bloody glove that appeared to match the one at the crime scene.

O.J. Simpson

"O.J. Simpson was a hero to the cops because he was a football star and they didn't want to believe it until they found the glove," one source told CNN's Art Harris.

Defense attorneys want to put Sims back on the stand to ask him about an examination he made of the socks recovered from Simpson's bedroom. According to attorney Barry Scheck, Sims found a wet transfer stain on the sock "in the area that he typed consistent with Nicole Brown Simpson." Scheck said he believed the examination by Sims and another prosecution expert, Peter Deforest, could help Simpson.

The defense has long maintained that the blood on the socks was planted. A defense expert testified in July that blood had seeped through from one side of the sock to the other, supporting the theory that blood was placed on the sock when it was not being worn.

Prosecutor Marcia Clark objected to making Martz available until Ito rules whether to admit the testimony of his fellow FBI agent, Whitehurst. The defense hopes to put Whitehurst on the stand to impeach Martz's testimony. Whitehurst has accused Martz of altering test results and testimony in other cases.

The defense spent the weekend interviewing Whitehurst about his allegations, and Cochran Monday asked Judge Ito for a hearing to call him to the stand. But prosecution sources said they don't expect Ito to allow his testimony because he had nothing relevant to add to the Simpson case.

When testimony resumed, FBI shoe print expert William Bodziak underwent more cross-examination, answering a series of complex questions about marks on evidence at the crime scene.

Bodziak has testified it was impossible that two marks on an envelope and piece of paper could have come from a shoe, which contradicts testimony from defense expert Henry Lee. Lee indicated the prints might have been made by the shoes of an unidentified additional person at the crime scene.

Bodziak, questioned at length about Lee's testimony, said that although Bodziak was not a fabric expert, he believed Lee could not have known the exact scenario in which blood was imprinted on victim Ron Goldman's jeans. Bodziak also said he had more expertise than Lee in shoe print analysis.

Prosecutors plan to rest their rebuttal case Monday, according to Deputy District Attorney Cheri Lewis. "This is it for the prosecution. We'll be resting today after Bodziak," she said. But she added, "if they (defense) put something on that warrants rebuttal then we'll do it."


Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.