Mark Fuhrman was a burned-out cop straight out of a million police novels, an associate says, and all he wanted was to impress an interviewer and perhaps get a chance to write those very sorts of books.
So when Fuhrman used a racial epithet dozens of times in tape-recorded interviews with a screen-writ-ing professor, it was merely a case of a tired detective trying to be something he wasn't, Fuhrman's private investigator said.And when Fuhrman testified on national television in the O.J. Simpson trial that he had never used the epithet in the past decade, it was a case of a man in the hot seat suffering a "mental block."
"Listen, this guy watched too much television," private investigator Anthony Pellicano said Thursday. "I'm going to tell you, when you listen to these tapes, he's making up stuff like crazy."
But according to transcripts of the tapes obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Fuhrman described a bloody beating of several suspects that was similar to a 1978 incident at a housing project in Fuhrman's precinct.
Pellicano's statements, delivered at a news conference approved by Fuhrman's lawyer, was the first detailed response by a Fuhrman representative to the tapes that have rocked the waning days of the trial. The Simpson defense did not respond, but it has said Fuhrman should be prosecuted for lying on the stand.
While Pellicano was conducting damage control, the defense was in court working out details of how the 12 hours of tapes will be handled. The defense also presented inconclusive fingerprint testimony to occupy jurors, who were kept unaware of the volatile happenings outside their presence.
The defense also fought to stop a nighttime jury tour of the crime scene and Simpson's estate planned for Sunday. It argued that it was too costly, unnecessary and misleading because the moonlight will be different than the night of June 12, 1994, when Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were knifed to death.
The jury has already made a daytime visit, but prosecutors argued it was essential for jurors to see the scene at the same time of night the murders were committed. Judge Lance Ito said he was inclined to allow the visit, though he would return to the scene one more time before making a decision.
But throughout the court session, Ito's mind clearly was on the tapes. Attorneys say Ito's wife, police Capt. Margaret York, is one target of Fuhrman's invective on the tapes.
Another judge was reviewing the tape sections involving Ito's wife and was expected to rule by Monday on whether she must be a witness. Ito said he would withdraw if that becomes necessary to avoid a conflict of interest.
Ito has agreed to rule on how much of the tapes the jury, which has eight black members, will hear. The defense wants to paint Fuhrman as a racist and liar who could have planted the bloody glove he claims to have found behind Simpson's mansion.
The transcripts quoted in today's Los Angeles Times could only hurt the prosecution.
"Two of my buddies were shot and ambushed, policemen," Fuhr-man told the professor in 1985, according to the transcripts. "Both down when I arrived. I was first unit at the scene. Four suspects ran into a second-story apartment, and we kicked the door down, grabbed the girl, one of their girlfriends, by the hair, stuck a gun to her head, and used her as a barricade."
Fuhrman said in the transcripts that the officers beat the suspects for so long, "we had them begging that they would never be gang members again."
"We basically tortured them," Fuhrman said in the transcripts. "There was four policemen, four guys. We broke 'em. Their faces were just mush. They had pictures of the walls with blood all the way to the ceiling and finger marks of (them) trying to crawl out of the room."
Fuhrman objected to the professor including the beating in her project because he was not yet protected by the seven-year statute of limitations, the newspaper said.