September 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Jurors Hear Fuhrman Tapes

Chicago Tribune

When the long-suffering O.J. Simpson jury returned to court Tuesday after an exasperating seven-day break, the testimony was undisputed: Former police detective Mark Fuhrman is a racist, as portrayed in his own words.

In the morning session, two women described hearing Fuhrman deride African-Americans in the mid-1980s with a racial epitaph. In the afternoon, jurors listened to the retired detective speak the word in an excerpt from his taped interviews with a screenwriter in 1985.

Stern and sharply attentive, several jurors on the largely African-American panel covered their mouths with their hands as they heard Fuhrman use racial epitaphs.

Until the last minute, defense lawyers tried to convince Judge Lance Ito to reconsider his ruling that the jury may only hear two of the most innocuous examples from the tape-recordings of Fuhrman using the racial epithet. The judge did not relent.

To support their theory that Mark Fuhrman planted a bloody glove at Simpson’s estate in a broad-based police conspiracy, defense lawyers sandwiched Tuesday’s evidence about his racism around testimony from a police photographer and auto parts specialist.

Police photographer Rolf Rokahr testified that he photographed Fuhrman pointing at a glove and knit cap at the crime scene in the darkness hours after the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were discovered on June 12, 1994.

In his earlier trial testimony, Fuhrman said he returned to the crime scene at 7 a.m. to examine the glove when he was photographed pointing to it.

Under prosecution cross-examination, the elderly photographer said he takes numerous medications and has difficulty remembering the times he took photographs.

Returning to blood stains found in Simpson’s Ford Bronco, William Blasini, an automobile parts specialist, insisted he saw no blood at all inside the vehicle when he looked inside during a visit to a police-contracted lot.

Questioned by prosecutors, Blasini said he wears tinted glasses to compensate for a problem with glare since eye surgery seven years ago.

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