March 16, 1995 in Nation/World

Witness Retracts Remarks About Fuhrman, Bailey

Linda Deutsch Associated Press
 

A man who had denied Detective Mark Fuhrman ever made racial slurs said Wednesday that he now remembers a previously repressed memory in which Fuhrman called him a “nigger.”

Max Cordoba told reporters last fall that he had never heard racial epithets from Fuhrman, accused by O.J. Simpson’s lawyers of planting a bloody glove. And prosecutors said Cordoba told them the same thing.

But in an interview Wednesday night on NBC’s “Dateline,” Cordoba said Fuhrman once called him a “nigger” at a Marine recruiting station and Cordoba felt threatened when the detective pulled back his jacket and showed his gun.

Cordoba, a former Marine sergeant and now a part-time actor, said he heard no racist remarks during his first meeting with Fuhrman in the mid1980s. But on a second occasion a short time later, he said he was with Fuhrman as he was leaving the recruiting office and offered to help the detective with something.

“He said to me … ‘No, I don’t need your help, boy.”’

And he said Fuhrman added moments later: “‘The only boy here is you, nigger.”’

When he started to approach Fuhrman, he said, the officer pushed back his jacket and showed his pistol, and Cordoba backed off.

“I went inside, really upset, perplexed about it.

“In my estimation, it looked like he was brandishing his weapon without actually physically touching it,” Cordoba said. “It gave me an indication I better just stop what I was doing.”

The interview was the first time Cordoba offered public details of Fuhrman’s alleged racist remarks and contradicted what he has told other reporters. Defense lawyers plan to call Cordoba to the stand to back up their claims that Fuhrman is a racist capable of planting evidence to frame a black man.

In a Sept. 21 interview in the Los Angeles Times, Cordoba said that “at no time, when Mark was with me or in our office, did he speak in any racist manner about blacks or anyone.”

He made a similar statements last fall to “Entertainment Tonight” and “A Current Affair.”

Cordoba acknowledged in the NBC interview that he made such remarks. He said he repressed all memory of the second Fuhrman encounter, and it came back to him around mid-January.

“I dreamt about it a couple days before that, and in dreaming about it I started getting flashbacks about what occurred,” Cordoba said.

He was asked if this memory might be a dream.

“I don’t think so. No, this is no dream,” he said.

On Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark accused Simpson attorney F. Lee Bailey of lying about Cordoba. when he told the court Tuesday he had talked to Cordoba “Marine to Marine” and expected him to testify about Fuhrman’s racial insults.

Cordoba went on the NBC show “Dateline” that night and said, “I have not talked to F. Lee Bailey.”

Then, on Wednesday night, Cordoba told NBC he had indeed talked to Bailey, despite his denial to reporter Stone Phillips the night before.

“For some dumb reason, when Stone asked me that question, it just blanked that I didn’t talk with him, but I did speak with him,” Cordoba said.


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