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PROSECUTORS GET SLAPPED FOR COURTROOM SURPRISE

Trying to prop up the reputation of a key witness, O.J. Simpson prosecutors produced a page from a crime scene report that the defense claimed was destroyed in a police frame-up conspiracy. But the judge ruled the prosecution went too far.

The surprise late in Thursday's court session somewhat deflated the savage attack by defense attorney Barry Scheck on criminalist Dennis Fung. It prompted the judge Friday to slap the prosecution with a misconduct ruling.Judge Lance Ito said prosecutors intentionally violated his order by failing to notify him and the defense about the page, which Fung said he found after his cross-examination ended Thursday. But Ito put off sanctions until next week and rejected a defense request to toss out the testimony.

Meanwhile, the jury was allowed to see the page Friday and compare it to a copied page that Scheck had produced with great fanfare Thursday, claiming it proved that Fung lied about when he received a vial of Simpson's blood.

Scheck had noted the copy was the only page of a crime scene report that lacked staple holes. The lack of holes, Scheck contended, proved that another page was slipped into the report as part of a conspiracy to frame Simpson for murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

Minutes after that, Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg produced the original page and had Fung identify it, drawing vehement objections from the defense.

Goldberg didn't concede wrongdoing. He said Simpson's lawyers were upset at having their dramatic conspiracy claim deflated.

"Their tactical decision didn't work," Goldberg argued outside the jury's presence. "Quite frankly, I would not have thought of predicating a conspiracy theory based upon the existence or non-existence of staple holes on Page 4."

In a sidebar conference, Goldberg said Scheck's flourish was "an attempt to achieve a `Perry Mason' moment, where he wants to spring something on the witness that they didn't disclose to us."

Ito said he might have considered it a "no harm, no foul" situation except for his earlier order demanding the disclosure of all documents before they are raised in testimony.

"I find the failure to disclose was a violation of the court's order, and I am going to instruct the jury," the judge said.

But lead prosecutor Marcia Clark argued that any instruction should wait until other issues of lawyer misconduct are argued. Ito agreed to consider those matters Wednesday.

That permitted Goldberg to proceed with his redirect questioning and show jurors the crime report page. Fung said he found it while flipping through a notebook after his grueling cross-examination had concluded.

The page, which contained a blank space where officers normally note the time they depart a crime scene, was passed among jurors along with the copy they had seen Thursday. Some of them held the two documents up to the light to compare the marks left by the staples - holes on the original, black specks on the copy.

Fung returns to the stand Monday for an eighth day of testimony. The case rests heavily on blood evidence that Fung and his assistant collected - evidence the defense argues was either mistakenly or intentionally tainted.

During redirect questioning, Goldberg also played the defense's own videotape for the jury to point out a black plastic bag carried by rookie criminalist Andrea Mazzola as she and Fung left Simpson's estate the evening after the June 12 murders.

The defense had used the image to demonstrate that Fung was empty-handed and couldn't have carried a vial of Simpson's blood from the home, as he earlier testified.