It’s halftime in the O.J. Simpson case. Finally.
“The people rest,” Prosecutor Marcia Clark told the court Thursday after ending the state’s case with the drone of stipulated evidence.
The first defense witness - likely to be either Simpson’s sister or his mother - will be called Monday morning.
Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. said Thursday that the defense case should take four to six weeks - far shorter than the more than five months spent by the prosecution on the June 12, 1994, slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Courthouse regulars suggested that the relatively speedy defense schedule is a bid, at least in part, for the subliminal gratitude of jurors who already have been sequestered for 177 days.
However, the defense could follow the lead of the prosecution in taking longer than initially forecast. Opening arguments started Jan. 24; in the 163 days that followed, there were only 92 days of actual testimony.
Jurors Thursday stared impassively at the news that the trial would be moving into a new phase. Judge Lance Ito assured them that, although the jury’s weekend would begin a day early, the lawyers would tie up loose ends today.
Ito suggested he would like to “trade places” with jurors so he could enjoy another long weekend, after the Fourth of July holiday stretch. The jurors met his jest with blank looks.
There are two matters on the court agenda today.
Prosecutors introduced 488 exhibits - evidence that they now must formally move onto the record. The items range from gruesome photographs of the crime scene and of the slashed bodies of Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend, to the notorious bloody leather gloves presumably dropped by the killer, to reports on the genetic composition of O.J. Simpson’s blood.
Defense attorneys get a last chance to object to any of those exhibits; Ito will formally rule on their admissibility.
The prosecution had been expected, once the regular trial proceedings resumed, to call Nicole Simpson’s mother, Juditha Brown, as its final witness. Her testimony, however, was reduced to a written agreement between the defense and prosecution regarding phone calls Brown made to her daughter the night of the murders, and calls between Brown’s phone and O.J. Simpson’s during the period leading up to and after the murders.