April 13, 1995 in Nation/World

Simpson Lawyers Attack Expert Police Evidence Man Accused Of Incompetence, Cover-Up

New York Times
 
Tags:trial

Lawyers for O.J. Simpson continued Wednesday to grill Dennis Fung, the police criminal expert who gathered the blood evidence in the case, suggesting that Fung, fearful for his job, was part of a broader police conspiracy to frame Simpson.

In no rush to end what Simpson’s lawyers view as one of the high points of the trial, Barry Scheck, the law professor handling DNA testimony for the defense, depicted Fung not only as incompetent but dishonest, willing to lie to protect the police who investigated the killings with which Simpson has been charged.

On several occasions, Scheck all but accused Fung of covering up for the skullduggery or ineptness of Philip Vannatter and Tom Lange, the two police detectives in charge of the investigation, as well as for Detective Mark Fuhrman, their most controversial subordinate.

Fung had done so, Scheck insinuated, because he feared for his job.

The defense implied that Fung had shaded his testimony to protect Fuhrman, who had said he spotted blood spots on the door of Simpson’s Ford Bronco. Simpson’s lawyers accused Fung not only of falsely claiming to have seen those spots, but of never conducting the tests he said he had on them, and of filing a spurious report about it afterward.

They also pledged to show that Fung had lied about just when Vannatter had given him a sample of Simpson’s blood.Scheck faulted Fung for keeping blood samples for hours in saturated plastic bags in a hot truck, and all but accused him of shading his testimony about Simpson’s Ford Bronco to protect Fuhrman. Then he pledged to show that Fung had lied about when Vannatter had given him a sample of Simpson’s blood.

But public proceedings adjourned before Scheck could deliver that knockout punch, so that Judge Lance Ito could question the jurors in his chambers about, among other things, whether they were routinely ignoring his strictures against talking about the case among themselves and with others, as a recently dismissed member of the panel has contended.

Ito ruled that Simpson could sit in when he questions the excused juror, Jeanette Harris, who made her inflammatory comments to a reporter last week after her removal.

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