September 28, 1995
Web posted at: 3:45 p.m. EDT
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Attacking critical blood evidence against O.J. Simpson, defense attorney Barry Scheck charged Thursday that the heart of the prosecution's case cannot be trusted. It is a "cancer infecting the heart of this case," Scheck told the jury as the defense neared the end of its closing arguments. "Somebody played with this evidence and there's no doubt about it." (1.6M QuickTime movie)
Simpson's lead defense attorney, Johnnie Cochran, also hit the conspiracy issue earlier in the day. Picking up where he left off on Wednesday, Cochran targeted former Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman, who found a bloody glove at Simpson's home after the June 12, 1994, murders of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Fuhrman was shown to have lied when he denied under oath using the word "nigger." Pleading for his client's acquittal, Cochran called on jurors to take a stand against a "lying, genocidal racist cop," a police department that covered up for him, and prosecutors who sought to win at any cost.
"Maybe you are the right people, at the right time, at the right place to say, 'No more. We are not going to have this,'" Cochran said.
He said Fuhrman had held a grudge against Simpson dating back to 1985, when Fuhrman investigated Simpson for allegedly bashing the windshield of then-wife Nicole's Mercedes. From that time, said Cochran, Fuhrman thought to himself, "`I'm going to get that guy,' and in '94 he had his chance."
Cochran said it was obvious from Kathleen Bell's testimony that Fuhrman had been an outspoken racist for a long time, and the police officers he worked for and with had to know it. Bell is a real estate agent who claims she met Fuhrman 10 years ago. "There is something about a rotten apple that will ultimately infect the entire barrel," Cochran said. The Los Angeles Police Department failed to act and covered up for Fuhrman, he said: "He would have been off the force long ago if they had done their job." The defense lawyer accused prosecutors of complicity in tolerating Fuhrman's attitudes because they have "an obsession to win at all costs" and are afraid of losing another high-profile case. "Nobody has had the courage to say this is wrong," Cochran said. "You are empowered to say this is wrong. Stop this coverup! Stop this coverup!" (209K AIFF sound or 209K WAV sound)
Cochran said that Fuhrman and the lead detective on the case, Philip Vannatter, are the "twin demons of evil" because both lied to the jury. Fuhrman planted a glove in order to frame Simpson, he said, while Vannatter lied when he said Simpson was not a suspect when police initially went to his mansion.
When Scheck finishes his attack on the prosecution's scientific evidence against Simpson, Cochran is expected to speak again to the jury, completing the defense summation.
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