Sobbing as she stood before the judge, a housekeeper who could give O.J. Simpson an alibi for the night of the slayings promised to return to court and testify on Monday rather than flee to her native El Salvador over the weekend.
Though she is a defense witness, Rosa Lopez will be allowed to testify midway through the prosecution’s case - the result of an extraordinary all-day hearing in which Simpson’s lawyers pleaded with the judge to make sure her testimony is not lost forever to the defense.
Lopez, a housekeeper who worked next door to Simpson’s estate, is expected to testify that she saw Simpson’s Ford Bronco parked there at the same time the prosecution contends he was killing Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman at her condo.
However, Lopez had vowed to leave for El Salvador tonight, complaining of harassment by reporters and expressing fear for her safety and that of her family.
After a hearing in which prosecutors argued that it was an empty threat, Ito summoned Lopez to court and told her she could either promise to return on Monday or spend the weekend in jail to keep her from fleeing.
“Do you promise me that you’ll obey my order to return?” Ito asked the maid through a Spanish-language interpreter.
“Yes,” she said, nodding.