February 28, 1995 in Nation/World

New Revelations Weaken Maid’s Alibi For Simpson Woman Says She Saw Bronco At His Home During Key Period

Jessica Seigel Chicago Tribune
 
Tags:trial

After a neighbor’s maid testified Monday that she saw O.J. Simpson’s car outside his home about the time his ex-wife and her friend were murdered, prosecutors produced another Brentwood housekeeper they say will contradict her account.

The maid’s alibi for Simpson may be further weakened by another revelation in court Monday - that in an initial interview with a defense investigator last July, she did not mention seeing Simpson’s Ford Bronco on the night of the murders.

Maid Rosa Lopez gave her testimony Monday on videotape out of the jury’s presence for later use if she leaves for her native El Salvador and doesn’t return.

Before she took the stand, the defense team revealed the existence of an interview with Lopez that prosecutors did not know existed.

As required by law, the defense had handed over notes about an Aug. 18 interview with Lopez but didn’t mention until Monday that their investigator had also spoken to her on July 29.

The discrepancies between the two interviews, prosecutors say, raise questions about the veracity of Lopez’ testimony.

Besides not mentioning Simpson’s Bronco in the earlier interview, Lopez refers to another neighborhood housekeeper named “Sylvia” to corroborate portions of her story. At the end of the day Monday, prosecutors unexpectedly brought Sylvia Guerra into the courtroom, saying she will expose Lopez as a liar.

The prosecutors said Guerra, an undocumented immigrant, had been afraid to speak to them before for fear she would be deported.

Judge Lance Ito told Guerra to come to court today.

At one point, defense lawyer Carl Douglas told Judge Lance Ito that no record existed of that earlier interview. But later, the defense team’s own private investigator, William Pavelic, revealed under oath that he had indeed tape-recorded the July interview.

“As officers of the court they should be ashamed, they should be embarrassed. I am appalled,” prosecutor Marcia Clark said of the defense omissions and contradictions.

Ito, who is considering sanctions against the defense, ordered the private investigator to come to court today with the recording.

Under friendly defense questioning Monday, Lopez described how her memory of the night of June 12 coincides with crucial moments of Simpson’s alibi. Though she doesn’t wear a wristwatch, Lopez said she noted the times from her nightstand clock.

Twice on the night of June 12, she recalled going outside, once shortly after 8 p.m., then at about 10:15 p.m to walk her employer’s golden retriever.

Both times, she said, she noticed O.J. Simpson’s white Ford Bronco parked on the street next door in the same slightly angled position in which police would find the car the next morning.

Simpson claims that he was home at 10:15 p.m., about the time prosecutors say his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered at her condominium two miles away.

A limousine driver has testified that the Bronco was not parked at the estate when he arrived at 10:20 p.m.


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