Simpson Lawyers Denied Immediate Hearing; Must Wait Until Next Week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Lawyers for O.J. Simpson, seeking to force a North Carolina professor to testify about tapes she made of Los Angeles police Detective Mark Fuhrman, on Tuesday were denied their request for an immediate hearing to appeal a judge’s ruling.
The attorneys had requested a hearing before the North Carolina Court of Appeals by Thursday, saying Simpson’s rights would be jeopardized if his murder trial ended without testimony from Laura Hart McKinny.
The appeals court instead gave McKinny’s attorney until noon Monday to respond to the Simpson team. After that deadline, the court said, it will decide the appeal without hearing oral arguments.
Last Friday, Forsyth County Superior Court Judge William Z. Wood Jr. ruled that McKinny could not be forced to testify about her Fuhrman tapes. McKinny, a professor at the North Carolina School of the Arts, interviewed Fuhrman from 1985 through July 1994 for a screenplay she was writing.
In a tape played in Wood’s chambers, Fuhrman used the word ``nigger″ or other racist language 27 times, according to a list prepared by McKinny’s attorney and included in Simpson’s appeal.
Simpson’s defense contends Fuhrman, who discovered a bloody glove at Simpson’s estate, was racially motivated to frame Simpson.
Wood said McKinny’s tapes did not make clear whether Fuhrman was expressing his opinion or that of Los Angeles police officers in general.
In their appeal, however, Simpson’s lawyers note Fuhrman testified for the prosecution that he had not used the word ``nigger″ in the last 10 years.
``McKinny’s testimony and the tapes show without question that Fuhrman allegedly lied when he testified that he had not referred to African-Americans as `niggers’ in the past 10 years,″ the appeal says. ``It is hard to imagine more compelling evidence of Fuhrman’s lack of credibility.″
Wood said it would be a hardship on McKinny to be separated from her family. In their appeal, defense attorneys says they will pay expenses for McKinny’s family to accompany her to Los Angeles.