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Shapiro Tells of Conflict Between Simpson Lawyers

October 4, 1995 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The O.J. Simpson defense team not only played the race card, but ``we dealt it from the bottom of the deck,″ according to Robert Shapiro, one of Simpson’s lawyers.

``My position was always the same,″ Shapiro told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in an interview Tuesday, ``that race would not and should not be a part of this case. I was wrong.″

Shapiro blamed fellow Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. for changing the rules, but said Cochran ``was in charge of the overall strategy″ of the defense.

``He believes that everything in America is related to race,″ said Shapiro. ``I do not.″

Shapiro added that he was surprised and ``deeply offended″ when Cochran likened racism to the Nazi Holocaust in the trial summation.

``To me the Holocaust stands alone as the most horrible human event in modern civilization,″ Shapiro said. ``And with the Holocaust came Adolf Hitler, and to compare this in any way to a rogue cop, in my opinion, was wrong.″

Although it was his decision to bring F. Lee Bailey into the case, Shapiro said he was angry when the legendary attorney took a courtroom role and cross-examined witnesses.

``I will never talk to F. Lee Bailey again,″ he said.

According to Shapiro, it was his decision that Simpson not testify.

``O.J. always wanted to take the stand,″ said Shapiro, adding that fellow attorneys Cochran and F. Lee Bailey also favored it. But Shapiro held firm. ``If Simpson testified and made one mistake, he would be convicted.″

Elsewhere in the interview, which was broadcast Tuesday night, Shapiro said he knew ahead of time that the pair of gloves, which proved to be crucial evidence, weren’t O.J. Simpson’s size: He tried them on his own smaller hands, and they fit.

Shapiro said he advised Simpson, ``You are going to be asked to try on these gloves (and) they will not fit you.′ ... And he looked at me and he said, `That’s what I’ve been telling you, that’s what I’ve been saying.′ ″