Prosecutors on Thursday withdrew some of the most explosive domesticviolence allegations against O.J. Simpson, including a claim that he threatened to cut off the heads of his ex-wife’s boyfriends.
In all, prosecutors withdrew without explanation 18 of the 62 incidents they have outlined in court papers released Wednesday and during a hearing on whether to admit evidence that Simpson beat his ex-wife.
“By crossing these out we’re not commenting on the truth of these incidents or the untruth of them or the credibility of any of the witnesses,” Deputy District Attorney Lydia Bodin said. The prosecutors reserved the right to introduce the material at trial.
Defense attorneys denounced the tactic of introducing and then retracting the allegations as an outrageous attempt to manipulate public opinion.
“Perhaps they’re trying to get at a second jury pool in case there’s a hung jury,” Simpson lawyer Robert Shapiro said.
The documents, including entries from Nicole Brown Simpson’s diary and letters Simpson wrote her, portrayed Simpson as as a fiercely jealous man who beat and stalked his ex-wife. The defense contends such information is irrelevant and shouldn’t be presented to jurors.
Ms. Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were stabbed and slashed to death June 12.
For the first time, meanwhile, prosecutors offered a motive for Goldman’s slaying: that Simpson believed he was “a potential suitor” of his ex-wife.
“It is only when you understand the reality, and the jealousy, the possession, that the killing and the brutality of the killing make sense,” Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg said.
In outlining a theory of the crime at a hearing in September, prosecutors said Simpson went to his ex-wife’s condo to kill her and murdered Goldman only when the young man unexpectedly arrived to return a pair of glasses.
Friends and family have said Goldman’s relationship with Ms. Simpson was platonic.
Among the allegations withdrawn by prosecutors was actor Eddie Reynoza’s account of hearing Simpson threaten to decapitate his exwife’s boyfriends if they drove his fancy cars. Goldman sometimes drove Ms. Simpson’s Ferrari.
Commenting on the withdrawal of that claim, Superior Court Judge Lance Ito remarked: “The news media was ablaze last night with this particular incident. … I think it should be clear on the record and to the news media that the prosecution is withdrawing this particular incident.”
Shapiro said Reynoza was known to prosecutors for making equally inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims against Michael Jackson.