April 14, 1995 in City

Fuhrman Remark Called Racist Comment In Spokesman Story Denounced By Simpson Lawyer

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:trial

Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman’s reference to “Cancun” during an audiotaped interview with The Spokesman-Review suggests he’s a racist, says a Washington state attorney working for O.J. Simpson’s defense team.

Fuhrman’s attorney called the accusation “absurd.”

The homicide detective is regarded as a key witness because he found a bloody glove at Simpson’s estate.

Defense attorneys have painted Fuhrman as a racist, rogue cop who planted the evidence.

Fuhrman visited Sandpoint in late January on a house-hunting trip. He told Spokesman-Review reporter Bill Morlin during 10-minute interview that he planned to retire later this year.

Minutes later, Fuhrman objected to being photographed and struck newspaper staffer Dan McComb in the chest with a metal briefcase.

Simpson lawyer F. Lee Bailey hired Puyallup, Wash., attorney Doug Kaukl to pursue subpoenas requiring the newspaper to turn over all photographs and the taped interview.

A Pierce County Superior Court judge signed the order April 4. After a review by its own attorney, the newspaper began compiling the materials Thursday.

During the interview with Morlin, Fuhrman said, “Do you really think it’s that sensational that I can buy a house in the country? It might be sensational if I bought one in Cancun.”

Fuhrman is heard emphasizing the second syllable in what Kaukl said is a disparaging term for blacks. Cancun is a beach resort in Mexico.

“F. Lee Bailey wants this material because apparently Fuhrman is making a snide, racist remark about Cancun, which has obvious references. It might well be indicative of his racism,” Kaukl said.

Fuhrman’s Los Angeles attorney, Robert Tourtelot, accused the Simpson team of “outrageous” and “ridiculous” conduct in a desperate attempt to free Simpson.

“This shows how far they’re willing to go to grasp at straws with this case,” Tourtelot said. “They’re stretching everything.”

Fuhrman lived in Spokane as a child and in Western Washington, where he still has relatives. He recently bought the house he was looking at in Sandpoint.

The newspaper team found him at Spokane International Airport on Jan. 25 before he boarded a flight back to Los Angeles.

Morlin said he identified himself as a Spokesman-Review reporter and waited until after Fuhrman and his wife finished dinner before approaching them.

“The basic position of the newspaper is that we conducted ourselves in a professional way and are continuing to do so by honoring what is clearly a legal request for non-confidential, on-the-record information,” Editor Chris Peck said of the subpoenas.


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