Mark Fuhrman Charged With Perjury, Agrees to Enter Plea
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Exactly one year after a jury decided that O.J. Simpson was innocent, former detective Mark Fuhrman agreed to enter a plea on a perjury charge today for his sworn testimony that he hadn’t used a racial slur in a decade.
A judge was reviewing the terms of the deal between Fuhrman and the state attorney general’s office. Terms of the plea bargain were not revealed. The judge set an afternoon hearing to announce whether he would accept the deal.
The deal was revealed by attorneys during a brief hearing before Superior Court Judge John Ouderkirk.
Ouderkirk asked attorneys, ``The People (prosecutors) have proposed a case settlement in this case, correct?″
``The parties have,″ Supervising Deputy Attorney General John A. Gordnier said.
In a series of rapid-fire procedural hearings, Fuhrman, represented by attorney Darryl Mounger, pleaded innocent in two courtrooms, then went before Ouderkirk.
The felony charge was filed this morning, a year to the day after the predominantly black jury in Simpson’s criminal trial, rocked by a recording of Fuhrman’s racist comments, decided Simpson was innocent of murder. The verdict was announced the following day.
Fuhrman retired after Simpson was acquitted and now works as an apprentice electrician in rural Idaho. He wore a dark business suit and answered only, ``Yes, your honor″ today when asked questions by any of the judges.
Security was heavy. Fuhrman was escorted by two plainclothes sheriff’s deputies in the courtrooms and hallways and as many as eight uniformed deputies standing by.
When the men left the Superior Court arraignment, Fuhrman was served with a subpoena from Simpson’s lawyers ordering him to testify in Simpson’s civil trial, now in the jury selection stage in Santa Monica.
``Mark Fuhrman, you are served, buddy, you are served,″ the process server shouted in the courtroom hallway.
A felony perjury conviction carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
Fuhrman, who said he found a glove on Simpson’s estate covered with the blood of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, was perhaps the prosecution’s biggest embarrassment in Simpson’s murder trial.
The complaint said the perjury came March 15, 1995, during Fuhrman’s testimony at Simpson’s murder trial ``that he had not addressed any black person as a `nigger’ or spoken about black people as `niggers’ in the last 10 years.″
Four defense witnesses contradicted that testimony, including an aspiring screenwriter who testified that Fuhrman said the word at least 41 times on tapes they made while working on a screenplay over the previous decade. Jurors were played one example of the word on the tapes.
Superior Court Judge Lance Ito barred the defense from introducing other evidence of alleged racism, including records of Fuhrman’s 1981 disability hearing, saying that had taken place too long ago.
During the trial, District Attorney Gil Garcetti’s office argued that Fuhrman’s comments were immaterial to the question of whether Simpson was guilty or innocent.
State Attorney General Dan Lungren began an investigation in November after the district attorney’s office bowed out.
Whether Fuhrman testifies or not at the civil trial, he will likely have an impact. One prospective juror called him as an ``egotistical opportunistic cop who conspired to frame Simpson.″ Another called him a ``cocky jerk.″
And juror after juror has said he lied on the witness stand and expressed racist attitudes.