Developments in the O.J. Simpson Trial Involving Detective Mark Fuhrman
Key dates regarding Detective Mark Fuhrman’s involvement in the O.J. Simpson case:
June 13: After preliminary investigation at murder scene, Fuhrman accompanies three detectives to Simpson’s estate. There, Fuhrman scales a wall and then, while alone, finds bloody glove on narrow pathway behind guest house. It seemed to match a glove near the bodies.
July 6: Fuhrman testifies during nationally televised preliminary hearing about finding the glove: ``My heart started pounding, and I realized what I had probably found.″
July 17: The New Yorker magazine reports that Simpson’s lawyers will probably claim that Fuhrman is racist, publicity-seeking officer who planted evidence against Simpson. Fuhrman denies allegations.
In court papers filed in early 1980s when Fuhrman tried to leave police force on disability pension, his attorneys claimed he was dangerously unbalanced. But the city, which won, argued that Fuhrman was competent and possibly faking his condition.
July 28: During taped interviews with screenwriter, Fuhrman talks about his role in Simpson case: ``I’m the key witness in the biggest case of the century. ... And if I go down, they lose the case. The glove is everything. Without the glove _ bye-bye.″ Tapes of the interviews aren’t discovered by Simpson defense until nearly year later.
Aug. 18: Defense files motion, later denied, seeking Fuhrman’s personnel and military records.
Nov. 22: Ito’s wife, police Capt. Peggy York, writes in sworn statement that she had no disagreements with Fuhrman and never investigated his alleged involvement in unauthorized LAPD group called Men Against Women. The declaration is designed to clear up possible conflict-of-interest problems from defense theories involving Fuhrman.
Jan. 13: At hearing to determine whether defense will be permitted to question Fuhrman about alleged racial slurs, prosecutor Christopher Darden and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., both black, engage in emotional exchange over role of race in the trial and use of the word ``nigger.″
Jan. 20: Ito issues mixed ruling on Fuhrman issue, allowing possibility of racism to be introduced if defense can prove it’s relevant.
March 9: Fuhrman testifies at trial. In pre-emptive strike, prosecutor Marcia Clark questions him about defense allegations of racism. Fuhrman testifies he never met Kathleen Bell, who accused him of making racist remark in mid-1980s. During following days, he tells jurors about finding glove and other evidence.
March 14-15: Under cross-examination by F. Lee Bailey, Fuhrman denies he ever said he would ``like nothing more than to see all niggers gathered together and killed″ or that ``black men who have white women in their company are violating an act of nature.″ Fuhrman tells jurors he has not used word ``nigger″ in the last 10 years and anyone who says he has is lying.
July 28: In major blow to defense, judge in North Carolina denies attempt to subpoena scriptwriter and her tape recordings, which were made from 1985 to 1994.
Aug. 4: Fuhrman retires from LAPD; moves to Idaho.
Aug. 7: North Carolina appeals court overturns lower court ruling, allowing defense to bring screenwriter and tapes to Los Angeles for Ito to decide the relevancy.
Aug. 15: Trial thrown into chaos when it’s revealed that Fuhrman makes derogatory comments about Ito’s wife on tapes. Clark vows to ask Ito to remove himself from trial because of appearance of conflict of interest. Ito, near tears, says he loves his wife and is ``wounded″ by criticism of her.
Aug. 16: Clark decides not to ask Ito to step down. Ito decides he will rule on admissibility of tapes but allow another judge to determine whether York should be deemed relevant witness. The second judge later rules that York is irrelevant to Simpson case.
Aug. 29: After pieces of tapes are dribbled out through attorneys’ comments, judge and news leaks, the portions the defense wants introduced are played in open court. Ito says he needs more time before making a ruling.