O.J. Simpson’s lead attorney has told Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito that the defense will rest its case by the first week in August, earlier than the most recent estimates, according to a transcript released Friday.
Meanwhile, Simpson’s legal team met to strategize how to conduct the final stages of their case. Among the experts they may call is a specialist on dairy products, who will conduct meltdown rate tests on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
A melting cup of that brand was found on a staircase at Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo shortly after her bloody body and that of Ronald L. Goldman were discovered by neighbors early on the morning of June 13, 1994.
The defense lawyers hope the test results could bolster their contention that police ignored evidence that could have better established the times of deaths of Simpson’s ex-wife and Goldman and to suggest the murders occurred closer to 11 p.m. than to 10 p.m. This would cast doubt on the possibility of Simpson having committed the murders, because he met a limousine driver shortly before 11.
Simpson has pleaded not guilty to the killings. His lawyers contend he is the victim of sloppy police work, planted evidence and prosecutors who “rushed to judgment” by ignoring evidence that could have exonerated the former athlete. They have been stymied, however, by Ito’s refusal to allow certain defense theories to be presented to the jury and by restrictions on the testimony of some defense experts.
That has frustrated the defense and contributed to the paring down of its case.
Early in the case, defense lawyers cited the Los Angeles Police Department’s failure to photograph the melting cup of ice cream - acknowledged by Officer Robert Riske on cross-examination in February - as a sign of sloppy police work. But they have not referred to it in some time. But the hiring of Floyd W. Bodyfelt, a nationally recognized ice cream expert, was reported in the Corvallis, Ore. Gazette-Times.
According to Oregon State University spokesman Dave Stauth, Bodyfelt will attempt to replicate the conditions the night of the murders and determine the meltdown rate of three flavors found at Nicole Simpson’s condo - chocolate chip cookie dough, rain forest crunch and chocolate fudge. The tests are expected to be performed at UCLA.
Bodyfelt, 56, is a professor of food science who previously has done work for Baskin-Robbins and Dryer’s Ice Cream.
Prosecutors declined comment Friday on how they would respond to the defense’s attempt to introduce any ice cream test results.