In the middle of the prosecution's case, the defense called a witness the jury ultimately never saw. Simpson's next door neighbor's maid, Rosa Lopez, had her testimony taped because she claimed she needed to leave the country. She had claimed that she saw Simpson's Ford Bronco in front of his estate about 10:15 p.m. the night of the murders. That's the time the prosecution believes the murders occurred.
Unfortunately for the defense, Lopez's credibility was heavily challenged. In the end, the defense never presented Lopez's testimony to the jury. It did, however, go after the prosecution's expert witnesses regarding DNA evidence. The reason? Blood evidence was the heart of the prosecution's case. Time and time again, prosecution experts were hammered by the defense. (2,125K QuickTime movie)
When the defense finally began presenting its witnesses, it appeared the initial goal was to revive O.J. Simpson's image. Several of Simpson's relatives took the stand -- including his eldest daughter, his sister and his mother Eunice Simpson.
The defense then tried to show Simpson was incapable of committing the crimes because of his arthritis, but that ultimately appeared to backfire. When prosecutor Christopher Darden asked Simpson's physician if Simpson could have committed the murders, his answer was "yes." (221K AIFF sound or 221K WAV sound)
Earlier, the prosecution said the killings occurred about 10:15 p.m. That's when neighbors said they heard dogs barking in the night. But the defense had witnesses who said otherwise. Robert Heidstra testified that he heard dogs bark about 10:35 that night. (102K AIFF sound or 102K WAV sound)
Later, the prosecution said the killings could indeed have occurred at a later time. But they argued there was still enough time for Simpson to have committed the killings. But did Simpson act like a man who had stabbed two people to death? This was the testimony of a Hertz rental car employee who talked with Simpson in Chicago shortly after Simpson had been told of the killings:
One of the most seemingly damning pieces of evidence against Simpson was a sock found at the foot of his bed. On it, according to police, was Nicole Brown Simpson's blood. But even if it was, the defense says, it too was planted. Herbert MacDonnell said that the blood found on the socks wasn't actually splattered. According to him, it was transferred in the form of a compression stain.
The defense was hoping to end with a bang: make Mark Fuhrman retake the witness stand in front of the jury and admit he lied about having used the "N" word. But the defense lost that battle. It also failed to have the judge at least tell the jury that Fuhrman invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination when asked if he had lied to the jury in previous testimony and whether he planted evidence at O.J. Simpson's estate.
Many legal analysts said the defense went out with a whimper. Two brothers with past ties to the Los Angeles Mafia took the stand to say they heard Detective Philip Vannatter suggest Simpson may have been a suspect before detectives went to his estate.
Judge Lance Ito blocked camera coverage of their testimony because they are federally protected witnesses. But the brothers didn't give the defense exactly what it was looking for -- both said they thought Vannatter was probably being sarcastic.
In a nutshell, Simpson's defense was not about proving Simpson couldn't have committed the killings. It was an all- out assault on the credibility and veracity of the Los Angeles police investigation and the crime labs, where DNA test results pointed the finger of guilt directly at Simpson.
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