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DNA LAWYER WITH BUSINESS IN N.Y. LOSES BID TO APPEAR AT SIMPSON TRIAL

SHARE DNA LAWYER WITH BUSINESS IN N.Y. LOSES BID TO APPEAR AT SIMPSON TRIAL

A DNA lawyer billed as a star player in O.J. Simpson's fight to exclude genetic evidence from his murder trial lost a federal court appeal Friday, throwing a snag into the schedule for Simpson's case.

Peter Neufeld, who is set to represent a murder-trial defendant in New York next Monday, became the subject of a cross-country tug-of-war between the judge there and Superior Court Judge Lance Ito, who wants Neufeld to appear at a Simpson DNA hearing on Dec. 12.New York Supreme Court Justice Harold Rothwax refused to let the DNA expert skip a New York murder trial appearance in order to appear at the Simpson trial. Neufeld claimed that Rothwax had violated Neufeld's constitutional rights to earn a living and to travel, as well as Simpson's right to a fair trial.

But U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Duffy in New York said he could see no "burning necessity" for Neufeld's presence in Los Angeles.

"It is hard for me to believe that Judge Ito would hold that there are no California lawyers capable or competent to understand, present or refute forensic evidence, including DNA evidence," Duffy said in a ruling issued without a hearing.

Duffy said Neufeld's position is "no different than that of any other lawyer who undertakes the defense of a criminal case and then finds a more interesting or lucrative matter presented."

Neufeld, 44, has been defending Pedro Gil, who is charged with killing a New York police officer who was hit by a bucket of plastering compound dropped off an apartment roof while police were towing illegally parked cars. The Gil trial is expected to last at least five or six weeks.