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O.J. LAWYERS HAVE `FUNG' WITH WITNESS

For much of the day, O.J. Simpson's lawyers made little effort to hide their glee at the way they thrashed police criminalist Dennis Fung on the witness stand.

Johnnie Cochran Jr. roamed the halls Thursday saying, "We're having Fung." Robert Shapiro handed out fortune cookies to authors Joe McGinnis and Dominick Dunne and said, "These are from Dennis Fung."Defense attorney Barry Scheck ended his five days of brutal cross-examination of Fung with a flurry of surprises and allegations that the criminalist lied about a vial of Simpson's blood as part of a police coverup.

But then the tables started to turn, if ever so slightly.

Prosecutor Hank Goldberg - criticized for the way he has handled Fung's testimony - pulled a surprise of his own, having Fung present the original of a document that the defense just minutes before claimed Fung destroyed and replaced with a fake.

It was just one more twist, and provided an auspicious beginning for the prosecution's formidable task of salvaging Fung's character and the physical evidence portion of its case.

"I think that the prosecution has their work cut out for them," Los Angeles defense lawyer Barry Levin said.

Fung's redirect testimony resumes today, with court in session despite Good Friday and the approach of Passover.

Judge Lance Ito, intent on moving ahead with the lumbering trial, went an extra 11/2 hours past schedule Thursday, and recessed just before 6 p.m. only because his court reporters needed to catch trains home.

Ito obviously is concerned about the well-being of the sequestered jury. The latest juror to be dismissed told him that racial divisions run so deep among panelists that separate video-viewing rooms and gyms had to be set up for whites and blacks.

In a one-hour hearing Wednesday, ex-juror Jeanette Harris, who is black, repeated her contention that certain white jurors and deputy sheriffs are discriminating against the black jurors, who comprise most of the panel.

"It's my intention to speak to each and every juror who remains," the judge.

Outside court, Cochran said reports of kicking and hitting among the sequestered jurors could be sufficient to result in dismissal of at least one more panelist.

Scheck accused Fung of covering up the fact that he didn't receive a vial of Simpson's blood until the morning of June 14 - suggesting police had time to scatter Simpson's blood at the crime scene.

Fung insisted he received it on June 13, the day Simpson gave the blood while meeting with detectives at police headquarters.

Fung also asserted that he did not destroy evidence, did not lie about the handling of Simpson's blood sample and didn't participate in any plot to frame Simpson.

But jurors appeared transfixed by a swift series of surprises from Scheck, who produced videotapes and documents he said pointed to a cover-up.

Fung agreed that one set of those documents, which recorded his activities, appeared to have a page missing and replaced with a copy - discovered by defense lawyers because of missing staple marks.

The place on the copy where Fung should have stated what time he left Simpson's estate after gathering evidence was blank. Fung denied he was trying to hide the time.

When court resumed after a break and Goldberg began his redirect questioning, Fung unexpectedly produced the original document, which he said had accidentally ended up in the wrong notebook. Like the copy, the original was blank where Fung should have stated what time he left Simpson's estate.