Related topics

Forewoman of Simpson Jury Says She Thought Fuhrman Was From Ku Klux Klan

January 17, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In the eyes of the O.J. Simpson jury forewoman, Mark Fuhrman was either a Ku Klux Klansman or a skinhead with hair. And she didn’t believe a word he said.

Although she didn’t like Fuhrman from the start, Armanda Cooley writes in the book ``Madam Foreman″ that the former detective’s initial testimony ``did not look good for O.J.″

But as Fuhrman underwent cross-examination by defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, his demeanor changed, said Cooley, the juror who sat closest to the witness box.

``His breathing patterns shifted and, from where I was sitting, you could see him squirming,″ she wrote. ``Fuhrman kept pushing his feet up against the back board of the stand. You could tell there was just a little anger building up in him. I’m thinking, `This man is lying.‴

Jurors Carrie Bess and Marsha Rubin-Jackson collaborated with Cooley on the book, which comes out this week and highlights the importance Fuhrman played in Simpson’s acquittal.

The book downplays the importance of the now-infamous glove demonstration, however, in which prosecutor Christopher Darden had Simpson try on the evidence gloves found at his estate and at the crime scene. The gloves appeared not to fit, but the jurors said they weren’t convinced.

``Those gloves fit,″ Bess wrote. ``He wasn’t putting them on right.″

``Sure,″ added Rubin-Jackson, ``you know, they fit. ... I must have had an expression on my face because as he stood there, it was like he was talking to me, and he went, `They don’t fit.′ They would have fit anybody.″

Two of the three jurors told ``Dateline NBC″ Tuesday night that were they sitting on the jury of a civil trial, in which guilt is decided on a preponderance of evidence, they would have found Simpson guilty.

``Given that standard and based on the amount of evidence that was presented ... then yes, you would have to say that yes, he is guilty,″ Cooley said.

``I’m standing by my verdict,″ Rubin-Jackson added. ``But based on what I’ve heard since I’ve been out, I would have to vote guilty.″

During the trial, it was Fuhrman who made the biggest impression on the jurors, they said.

``Fuhrman was the trial,″ Bess wrote. ``Fuhrman found the hat. Fuhrman found the glove. Fuhrman found the blood. Fuhrman went over the gate. Fuhrman did everything. When you throw it out, what case do you have? You’ve got reasonable doubt right before you even get to the criminalists.″

Cooley recalled her first impression of Fuhrman: ``My first feeling when I saw him, he sort of looked like a Ku Klux Klan or a skinhead with hair.″

The first detective to arrive at the murder scene, Fuhrman was portrayed by the defense as a racist who tried to frame Simpson. The mostly black jury was played an excerpt from a tape of Fuhrman uttering a racial slur.

But in ``Madam Foreman,″ the three black jurors denied race played a role in their decision and contended their ultimate _ and very speedy verdict _ was shaped mostly by their lack of confidence in the Police Department and the evidence it handled.

The jurors said they saw Darden as a token black placed at the counsel table by the district attorney’s office.

``I remember thinking he was there as a token because the jury was predominantly black,″ Cooley wrote. ``I thought the prosecution felt they needed this particular balance. To me, this was the first `race card,′ as it has come to be called, and it was played by the prosecution. It didn’t fool me, and it didn’t fool a lot of other people on the jury either.″

The jurors also disliked the lead detective in the case, Philip Vannatter. They said they believed he was lying when he said he didn’t initially consider Simpson a suspect the morning after the June 12, 1994, murders of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

The 237-page ``Madam Foreman″ is the latest Simpson-related book published by Dove Books, which also put out books by two ousted jurors and by Ms. Simpson’s friend Faye Resnick.

In another development, a judge rejected Simpson’s bid to have a lawyer representing Goldman’s father removed from a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Simpson by Goldman’s family and the family of Ms. Simpson.

Superior Court Judge Alan Haber said Tuesday that he found no conflict of interest on the part of Daniel Petrocelli, lead attorney for Fred Goldman. Simpson had wanted Petrocelli removed on grounds that Petrocelli’s law firm once represented a company in which Simpson had a financial interest.

Update hourly