Prosecution Cutting Short Presentation, Drops Domestic Violence Witnesses
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In a last-minute strategy shift, prosecutors dropped their bid today to present more evidence of domestic violence in O.J. Simpson’s relationship and revealed a faster track to end their case.
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden confirmed outside court that the Simpson prosecution had withdrawn its request to present at least two new witnesses and had canceled the testimony of two others.
Darden said the decision was motivated by a desire to move the case along and get it to the jury.
``We’re ready to rest with a mountain of evidence against this guy,″ he said.
Prosecutors still plan to present a statistical expert and hair and fiber evidence, and anticipate resting the first week in July.
In addition to the four witnesses the prosecution had indicated it would call, today’s move also cancels the anticipated witness stand appearance of Keith Zlomsowitch.
Zlomsowitch, a former boyfriend of Nicole Brown Simpson, testified before a grand jury that Simpson stalked his ex-wife and once spied on the couple having sex on her couch.
The four witnesses the prosecution had said in court that it planned to call included two limousine drivers, a baby sitter and a personal trainer.
Earlier this year, prosecutors won approval to call several witnesses to testify about alleged domestic violence in the Simpsons’ relationship. A few witnesses, including Ms. Simpson’s sister, were called at the start of the case, and prosecutors initially indicated they planned to end their case with more such testimony.
It is possible, however, that the prosecution could raise domestic violence again during rebuttal of the defense case.
Darden’s revelation came after the trial abruptly recessed for the day at late morning following brief testimony by two witnesses.
A Bloomingdale’s employee told the jury he sold shoes to Simpson but could not remember selling the type of shoe that the prosecution says left bloody prints at the scene of Ms. Simpson’s and Ronald Goldman’s murders.
The prosecution also introduced new blood test results from a state DNA lab that concluded that blood drops found in Simpson’s Ford Bronco, on a sock from his bedroom and the rear gate of Ms. Simpson’s condominium were consistent with Simpson.
Samuel Marc Poser, a former shoe salesman and now a buyer for the New York City store, said he sold Simpson size 12 shoes several times since August 1990 but could say only that Simpson preferred dress casuals, not specifically the Italian brand Bruno Magli.
``Do you remember whether or not you sold those shoes to the defendant?″ prosecutor Hank Goldberg asked.
``No, I do not,″ Poser replied firmly.
Without the jury present, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. had objected to Poser being called, saying the testimony would be a waste of time because it doesn’t link Simpson to murder. He called the move ``the dying grasps of the prosecution.″
State Justice Department DNA expert Gary Sims, who testified earlier in the trial about blood test results, returned today with results of a few additional tests on blood from the crime scene, Simpson’s home and Bronco.
On the driver’s side of the Bronco, a carpet stain and another on the floor mat were consistent with Simpson and inconsistent with the victims, Sims said. A stain on a sock, which also held blood consistent with Ms. Simpson, was consistent with the defendant. The rear gate of Ms. Simpson’s Bundy Drive condominium also had blood consistent with Simpson, he said.
In another development today, the court released a motion filed Monday by prosecutors seeking to quash defense subpoenas served to deputy district attorneys associated with the case.
The motion said defense attorney Carl Douglas plans to interview everyone present at trial preparation sessions involving Detective Mark Fuhrman. It said the defense was ``fishing″ to try to impeach the testimony of Fuhrman, the investigator who said he found a bloody glove at Simpson’s home.
Poser’s appearance followed Monday’s testimony by an FBI shoe print expert who testified that Simpson’s size 12 feet match bloody shoe prints from a pair of rare, expensive Bruno Magli shoes.
Poser also testified there was no store record that Simpson bought a pair of that brand of shoes.
The prosecution’s shoe evidence appeared to be among the weakest of the extensive physical evidence in the murders of Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend.
For instance, FBI Special Agent William Bodziak said Monday that a tip from Tokyo and his own trip to Italy yielded only this information: The killer wore a size 12 Bruno Magli in the Lyon or Lorenzo styles. The retail price for a pair was about $160 and Bruno Magli didn’t sell too many of them in that size.
A pair of Reebok tennis shoes that Simpson is known to have worn are also a size 12, and the soles of the Reeboks and the Bruno Maglis match up perfectly, Bodziak told jurors.
``I could include him as a candidate for having possibly worn those shoes,″ Bodziak testified.
But there was no testimony linking Simpson to the Bruno Maglis, as prosecutors elicited last week regarding bloody gloves found at the crime scene and Simpson’s estate. A witness testified that Ms. Simpson may have unwittingly outfitted her killer when she bought the gloves for Simpson from Bloomingdale’s in 1990.
That strategy backfired, however, when prosecutors asked Simpson to try on the gloves and he grimaced and struggled to stuff his hands into them. A witness later said the gloves shrank.
Bodziak’s direct testimony was followed by a quirky cross-examination by F. Lee Bailey, who last cross-examined Mark Fuhrman, the detective accused of being a racist who planted evidence.
Bailey tried to suggest that the approximately 30 shoe prints were left by at least two assassins who cleverly tried to frustrate authorities by each wearing size-12 Bruno Magli shoes.
Bodziak called the theory ``ridiculous,″ and legal analysts were left shaking their heads.
``Bailey’s cross-examination was bizarre,″ said law professor Peter Arenella of the University of California, Los Angeles.
If anything, Arenella said, Bailey helped the prosecution by eliciting a scenario that wasn’t suggested during direct testimony: that the numerous prints came from a single killer who returned to the crime scene.
Bodziak described for jurors high-powered sleuthing that led around the world. He said the shoe prints were so unusual they could not be found in his FBI database, which includes prints of footwear dating back to 1937. They were eventually traced through a tip from a Japanese police agency.