O.J. Simpson’s defense lawyers, stymied earlier this week in their efforts to let jurors see Detective Mark Fuhrman as a liar and rogue cop, Friday changed directions - but not their target.
Simpson’s lawyers said they want to call a series of witnesses who would portray Fuhrman as a racist, as someone alleged to have painted swastikas on a colleague’s locker and to have worn Nazi paraphernalia in his off-hours.
They also want Fuhrman to return to the stand, where he testified in March that he found a bloody glove in Simpson’s yard that matched one discovered at the site where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death on June 12, 1994.
In a hearing closed to jurors, Ito agreed to let defense lawyers call at least two previously scheduled witnesses to testify about Fuhrman’s reputed racism when court resumes after the Labor Day weekend.
He also indicated he may allow new witnesses to testify, among them someone from the prosecution’s own camp: Lucienne Coleman, a deputy district attorney who repeated to her superiors scuttlebutt about Fuhrman that she said Los Angeles police officers passed on to her.
Officers said that Fuhrman liked to wear Nazi clothing at his home, and that he once scrawled swastikas on a locker of a fellow officer who had recently married a Jewish woman, Coleman repeated to her bosses earlier this year, defense attorney F. Lee Bailey told Ito.
A second potential new witness, Roderick Hodge, a black man, also is willing to testify that Fuhrman harassed him when he managed a Los Angeles apartment complex, Bailey said. “I told you I’d get you, nigger,” Fuhrman is alleged to have said after arresting Hodge on drug charges in 1987, Bailey said.
Another new potential witness, Natalie Singer, can testify that Fuhrman visited her apartment in 1987 and bragged of beating blacks to “relieve his tension,” Bailey told Ito.
But Ito was reluctant to automatically grant the defense request to bring in new witnesses, noting that the increasingly restive jury wants to go home.
“I’ve got a jury going nuts,” Ito said. The jury has not heard any testimony since Monday afternoon.