The timing was superb: Just as O.J. Simpson’s photo expert was swearing that a shot of Simpson in Italian designer shoes had to be fake, up pop 30 photos taken at the same place on the same day - with Simpson wearing the same blazer, same slacks, same shoes.
The plaintiffs had rested their case. The defense had Robert Groden on the stand, where he would state that the single frame of Simpson striding across grass at a 1993 football game in Bruno Magli shoes was bogus, that the negative showed clear signs of tampering.
The 30 new frames from a second photographer were a bombshell.
The late evidence, which the plaintiffs introduced to try to impeach Groden’s expert testimony, echoed the startling moment near the end of Simpson’s murder trial when the defense played audiotapes of police Detective Mark Fuhrman muttering racial slurs.
Whether new evidence will benefit the plaintiffs in this trial to the degree the tapes aided the defense in the first trial is, for now, an open question.
But both episodes point to the importance of new evidence, especially when it comes at an opportune time.
Plaintiffs in the wrongful death trial brought in a host of new evidence, from the shoe photographs to angry diary entries of Nicole Brown Simpson.
Attorneys also introduced references to Simpson’s failing a lie-detector test, a secretly recorded police tape of the Simpsons after an argument, details of Simpson’s police interrogation, testimony on the rarity of carpet fibers, and evidence about the Bronco chase.
The 30 photos, discovered over the Christmas break, were taken by E.J. Flammer and depicted Simpson at a 1993 Buffalo Bills football game, the same game where he was photographed by free-lancer Harry Scull.
An FBI shoeprint analyst testified that all the pictures show Simpson wearing the same kind of Bruno Magli shoes that left bloody prints near the bodies of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman about eight months after the photos were taken.
The new photos, analysts said, not only served to place Simpson at the crime scene, but also attacked his credibility since he had denied wearing such “ugly” shoes and tried to prove Scull’s picture was a fake.
“The (Flammer photos) are the single most important addition to the case, and the thing that will blow the hole through the physical evidence component,” said Southwestern University law professor Robert Pugsley. “And the defense’s inability to challenge their authenticity is the final nail for the plaintiffs in their case.”
The plaintiffs certainly thought so, too, as attorney Daniel Petrocelli stated in closing arguments last week.
“The question is - the only question is - did Mr. Simpson have Bruno Magli shoes, size 12? If that photo is real, O.J. Simpson is guilty. O.J. Simpson is the killer. That’s it. It’s the end of the ballgame.”