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Simpson Attorney Questions Key Detective on Alleged Misconduct

Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES

Police Detective Mark Fuhrman squared off with one of the nation's best-known defense lawyers Monday, with the detective denying he ever met a woman who says he made racist comments and dismissing the suggestion that he tampered with evidence in the murder investigation of O.J. Simpson.

Fuhrman, a 19-year department veteran, never raised his voice despite a sometimes testy cross-examination by F. Lee Bailey, a nationally renowned trial lawyer who has publicly proclaimed his eagerness to question the detective, once going so far as to compare Fuhrman to Adolf Hitler.

Monday, Bailey suggested what defense attorneys have said for months - that they are prepared to argue that Fuhrman is a racist who may have planted evidence to implicate Simpson in the June 12 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman.

Simpson has pleaded not guilty, and his legal team has waged a spirited defense of the former football star.

In his cross-examination, Bailey asked Fuhrman whether he had used a bloody glove to smear blood inside Simpson's Ford Bronco, an accusation that Fuhrman dismissed with a sad laugh and a firm "no."

But Fuhrman did testify that he was briefly alone just a few feet away from the bodies of the two victims, a revelation that could help the defense argue that the detective would have had an opportunity to pocket a glove from the crime scene and take it with him to Simpson's estate. Defense attorneys have said Fuhrman may have planted that glove, but they have not presented evidence to support the theory.

On Monday, Fuhrman matter-of-factly described finding the glove behind the guest quarters at Simpson's home. With Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark posing the questions, he said he had walked around the house to investigate noises reported to him by Simpson houseguest Brian "Kato" Kaelin and had then found the glove lying on a leaf-covered walkway.

Fuhrman gave that account in even, unemotional tones, far less dramatic than his description during last summer's preliminary hearing. During that session, he said "my heart started pounding" as he spied the glove and weighed the potential significance of his discovery.