March 28, 1995 in Nation/World

Prosecution Asks That Kaelin Be Declared A Hostile Witness Legal Maneuver Follows Contradictory Testimony

Vincent J. Schodolski Chicago Tribune
 
Tags:trial

Judge Lance Ito declared Brian “Kato” Kaelin a hostile witness Monday after the prosecution said the actor was changing his testimony about O.J. Simpson’s mood on the day Simpson’s exwife and her friend were slain.

The legal maneuver, sought by Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark, came on Kaelin’s fourth day as a witness, during which he has flipflopped on details of the time he spent with Simpson last June 12, the night of the murders.

Of particular concern to Clark, who had called Kaelin as a witness, was his repeated contradictions about Simpson’s demeanor just prior to the killings.

Testifying about conversations he had with the ex-football star in Simpson’s kitchen that day, Kaelin has described Simpson’s mood variously as “matter of fact,” “carefree” and “angry.”

In having him declared a hostile witness, the prosecution can question Kaelin as if he were being crossexamined. That meant Clark was able to ask leading questions and impeach her own witness with his testimony.

The state has tried to use Kaelin’s testimony to show that Simpson was infuriated over incidents surrounding a dance recital that day in which his daughter, Sydney, participated.

In particular, Clark questioned Kaelin about Simpson’s demeanor while discussing a tight dress his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, wore to the school program.

Kaelin has equivocated or expressed confusion about Simpson’s mood, depending on whether Clark or defense attorney Robert Shapiro questioning him.

Clark also pressed Kaelin on what appeared to be a contradiction between Simpson’s statements that his relationship with his ex-wife was finally over and his continued interest in her physical appearance.


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