Simpson defense team practices what it protests

April 16, 1995|By ROGER SIMON

You can see why the defense in the O. J. Simpson case is so upset at losing Jeanette Harris, the latest juror to be dismissed.

Harris says that she and other blacks on the jury are being victimized by white jurors and that the deputies assigned to the jury have conspired to make life more difficult for the blacks.

Which dovetails perfectly with the defense theory of the crime, which is that Simpson is the victim of a racial conspiracy:

According to the defense, four killers hired by drug dealers slash Nicole Brown Simpson to death in the mistaken belief she is Faye Resnick, a drug abuser who owes them money.

(Ronald Goldman apparently is slashed to death because he is in the wrong place at the wrong time.)

When the police arrive some hours later, Detective Mark Fuhrman makes the immediate decision to frame O. J. Simpson for the crime.

Fuhrman does this, the defense argues, because he is a racist who particularly despises black men married to white women.

Fuhrman secretly transports a bloody glove from the crime scene and plants it at Simpson's house. He is then joined in the conspiracy by other white police officers, one or more of whom later take a vial of Simpson's blood and splash it around his house, his clothing, the crime scene, his car, etc.

Criminalist Dennis Fung joins in this conspiracy, the defense argued last week, by covering up for the nefarious deeds of the police officers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Jeanette Harris has indicated she has no trouble believing in a racially motivated conspiracy by law enforcement authorities.

Why should she? Has she not, by her account, been victimized in a similar manner for months on the Simpson jury?

According to Harris, a white woman on the jury "kicked" her and "stomped" another black juror's foot.

This white woman, joined by a Hispanic juror, also went up to a black male juror while he was watching a movie and "they hit him in the head, you know, physically hit him in the head," according to Harris.

Harris also cited numerous instances when the deputies who guard the jurors gave special privileges to whites.

But how much should we believe Harris?

She was, after all, dismissed from the jury for lying.

Judge Lance Ito believes Harris lied on her jury form when she said she had never been a victim of domestic abuse.

And none of the other jurors dismissed previously in the Simpson case has made any mention of racial tensions on the jury.

Which does not mean Harris is lying now, but you can see why the defense is so furious over having lost her.

And the defense believes her removal is -- no surprise here -- the result of a conspiracy directed against blacks on the jury.

Lead defense attorney Johnnie Cochran has said that in his 32 years of practicing law he has never heard of jurors being investigated after being seated and it is clear to him that the prosecution and other evil forces (he does not want to name Judge Ito publicly) are eliminating jurors out of "an obsession to win."

And in a news conference Thursday, Cochran said, essentially, that though the further dismissal of black jurors would be vigorously opposed by the defense, he thought the white juror who allegedly kicked Harris should be dismissed.

"If the evidence is that one juror strikes another juror intentionally, isn't that a battery?" Cochran said.

In general, however, the defense is very happy these days.

That's because the defense has torn apart the testimony of criminalist Fung.

Which must have made them a little giddy:

The Associated Press reported that on Thursday Cochran went up to reporters and said, "We're having Fung!" and defense attorney Robert Shapiro "handed out fortune cookies" to journalists covering the case and said, "These are from Dennis Fung."

But, to me, making a joke about an Asian and fortune cookies is in very poor taste and similar to New York Sen. Alfonse D'Amato's reprehensible "imitation" of a Japanese accent two weeks ago.

So just a hint to the defense: If you are basing your entire case on the belief that your client is the victim of racism, it might be a good idea to avoid racism yourself.

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