Testimony ended in O.J. Simpson’s civil trial Thursday with a vivid picture show of the trial’s most powerful new evidence - color photos of Simpson wearing the same type shoes as the killer.
The last two witnesses - current and former FBI agents identified the shoes on Simpson’s feet in 31 photos as the same Bruno Magli Lorenzo style that the killer wore when he tracked blood around the slashed bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994.
Simpson’s lawyers maintained to the end that the pictures which surfaced long after his 1995 acquittal on murder charges are frauds concocted by people trying to make money off the case.
The former football star, who has spent the last 2-1/2 years defending himself and proclaimed his innocence on the stand in the civil case, left court early and wasn’t there when both sides finally rested.
“Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes the evidence in the case,” Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki told the jury, which sat through 41 days of testimony from 101 witnesses over 2-1/2 months. In addition to his usual admonitions, he urged the panel to avoid computer Internet sites on the case.
Attorneys were expected to argue over jury instructions Friday, and Fujisaki told jurors they should return Tuesday for closing arguments. He also said they should plan on getting the case next Thursday.
The first, criminal, trial was televised; the civil trial brought by victims’ relatives seeking damages was not.
But interest in the saga remained strong as evidenced by the last document shown to jurors: a price list from a photographer’s agent in Buffalo, N.Y., asking for up to $18,000 from TV networks to use the famous shoe pictures on the air. There reportedly were several takers.
The defense submitted the list before testimony from the final witness, FBI Agent William Bodziak.
Bodziak held in his hand a size 12 Bruno Magli Lorenzo shoe. Comparing it to eight enlarged photographs displayed for the jury, Bodziak said: “My opinion is the shoes depicted in those eight exhibits are Bruno Magli Lorenzo shoes.” He called them “unique.”
Former FBI photo analyst Gerald Richards testified earlier that he could find no evidence that pictures - taken by two different photographers of Simpson at a 1993 Buffalo Bills football game - had been altered or substituted.
But he acknowledged someone with motivation could create phony pictures impossible to detect.