The judge in the O.J. Simpson case Friday angrily threatened to pull the plug on TV coverage of the trial, complaining of what he called erroneous news leaks.
The judge later ruled he would allow most of the evidence seized in a search of Simpson's car and mansion, including videos and a note from his ex-wife breaking off nearly all contact with him.That was a blow to the defense, which wanted the evidence thrown out on the grounds it was beyond the scope of the search warrant.
The hearing began with Superior Court Judge Lance Ito rebuking KNBC-TV for what he and the prosecution called an inaccurate report that DNA testing found Nicole Brown Simpson's blood on socks at Simpson's house.
"I am contemplating terminating the media coverage in this case," Ito said.
Later, after consulting with the judge for clarification, court spokeswoman Marcia Skolnick said his remarks were directed at all broadcast media, not just KNBC. The judge has the authority to ban television in his courtroom and scheduled a hearing on the issue for next week.
Ito said the KNBC report could "pollute" the pool of prospective jurors.
"It is detrimental to Mr. Simpson's right to a fair trial and it is fundamentally unfair," he said. He said the report hurt the prosecution, too, because it may raise expectations among prospective jurors that can't be met at trial.
The defense suggested the police department was releasing information to prevent a fair trial. Hours later, the LAPD announced it already was conducting an internal affairs investigation into possible leaks and has tightened controls on information in the case.
The report was first broadcast Wednesday and was repeated Thursday after the judge first rebuked the station. KNBC said in a statement Friday that it would take up the issue directly with the judge, adding, "We share Judge Ito's concern that the facts of this case be reported accurately."
Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark denied the prosecution was responsible for the leak and said she shared Ito's outrage.