Kathleen Bell said in a sworn affidavit that Fuhrman told her: ``If I had my way, they would take all the niggers, put them together in a big group and burn them.'' Fuhrman has denied ever meeting Bell.

``Assuming Bell's statement to be true, a direct inference of a credibility problem is apparent,'' the judge said.

If the defense can provide him with an offer of proof on Monday concerning that evidence, he said he would allow the testimony at trial.

Ito also said the defense would be allowed to use the word ``nigger'' in making its case against Fuhrman. The prosecution had urged the judge not to allow the so-called ``n-word'' to be used in the courtroom because of its inflammatory nature.

``When meritorious arguments are raised on both sides, the court must always remember this process is a search for the truth and that it depends upon the sound judgment of our jurors,'' Ito wrote. ``If the challenged racial epithet was used in a relevant incident, it will be heard in court.''

Fuhrman became the focus of a defense attack early in the investigation, with lawyers arguing he had a well-documented history of bigotry.