O.J. Simpson's attorneys are accusing the district attorney's office of improperly using the county grand jury to gather additional evidence against Simpson, according to a motion.
In a nine-page motion seeking an emergency court hearing today, the defense team cited District Attorney Gil Garcetti's comments this week that he is using the Los Angeles County grand jury to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought against Simpson's friend, A.C. Cowlings.Garcetti said prosecutors would not turn a blind eye to evidence related to another criminal case that may be uncovered.
The defense in its motion accused Garcetti of using the grand jury to conduct a "roving investigation" for evidence against Simpson.
Superior Court Judge Lance Ito is expected to conduct any hearing in the matter behind closed doors, since it involves the work of the grand jury, court officials said.
"It is a firmly entrenched rule that once a defendant has been formally charged, a prosecutor may not use a grand jury's investigative powers for the purpose of securing additional evidence against the defendant for use in the upcoming trial," defense attorney Gerald Uelmen said in the motion.
"The grand jury is not empowered to conduct roving investigations or assist the district attorney in conducting his own roving investigations. The grand jury's investigative power is limited to determining whether a public offense should be charged by indictment," Uelmen wrote.
In the hearing scheduled for this afternoon, Ito first is expected to rule whether the motion should be argued immediately without prosecutors having been given the 10-day notice required by law.
"The necessity for hearing this motion on one day's notice," Uelmen wrote, "is the fact that the issues raised in the emergency motion pertain directly to the integrity of this case."
Prosecutors will make their comments on the motion in court, said Garcetti spokesman Mike Botula.
On Wednesday, Garcetti said he will decide whether Cowling would be charged with aiding Simpson in fleeing from police June 17 - rather than seeking an indictment from the grand jury.
While he declined to discuss the Simpson case, Garcetti said information obtained in the context of the grand jury probe into Cowlings could be used in the Simpson investigation.
"If there's evidence that comes out that might assist us in another investigation, you are not going to turn your back on that evidence," he said.