Fearful Witness Goes to Jail for Rebuffing Grand Jury
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A fearful witness who refused to testify before a grand jury investigating O.J. Simpson’s best friend was ordered jailed today and his lawyer said he’s prepared to stay in jail ″as long as necessary.″
Attorney Robert Rentzer said John Dunton believes his life will be in danger if he testifies before the panel investigating the role of Al ″A.C.″ Cowlings in Simpson’s murder case.
Rentzer said Dunton’s information is irrelevant to the Cowlings case but might relate to Simpson.
″He has information that the prosecution wants,″ said the lawyer. ″... but what he has would relate strictly to the O.J. Simpson case and nothing else. ″
Cowlings drove the getaway car the day Simpson fled authorities.
Rentzer confirmed that Dunton, an ex-convict, came to prosecutors initially.
″He did give them a great deal of information,″ said Rentzer. ″He just didn’t give them names. They promised him they would treat it with confidentiality.″
An appeals court refused Tuesday to overturn the contempt order issued against Dunton last week by Superior Court Judge Stephen Czulegar.
Czulegar held a closed hearing today and ordered Dunton to jail. Dunton could stay there until the grand jury term ends next June.
What Dunton told prosecutors remains in question. In one TV interview before his confrontation with the grand jury, Dunton said he had secondhand information that three people may have been at Nicole Brown Simpson’s condominium the night she and her friend Ronald Goldman were slain.
Simpson is charged with the murders and is set to go on trial on Sept. 26. He has pleaded innocent.
Dunton, a twice convicted forger, told another TV station that he heard there was a private investigator parked across the street from the murder scene June 12 and that there were two people involved in the murder.
Rentzer said his client will appeal to the California Supreme Court to overturn the contempt citation.