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FORENSIC EXPERT TESTIFIES THERE’S `SOMETHING WRONG’ WITH EVIDENCE

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A forensic scientist testified Friday that there was "something wrong" in the handling of a blood sample collected near the bodies of O.J. Simpson's ex-wife and her friend.

Henry Lee, testifying for the defense, said inexplicable blood smudges were found on the inside of paper packaging that held what were supposed to be dry blood samples."There may be reason to explain it," Lee told jurors. "I don't know."

The testimony bolstered the defense's theory of evidence tampering in the police crime lab. The blood sample found on Nicole Brown Simpson's walkway at her condo contains Simpson's genetic markers, tests have shown.

The blood, collected the day the bodies were found on June 13, 1994, was sopped up onto tiny cotton swatches, which were left in a lab cabinet to dry overnight before they were put in a paper packet, called a bindle. Lee said such swatches should be dry after that much time, raising the question of how a damp swatch ended up in the packaging.

"The only opinion I can give under these circumstances: something wrong," said Lee, who returns to court Monday for cross-examination.

Defense lawyer Barry Scheck cited previous testimony from police criminalists, who said the swatches had dried and would not have been placed in the bindle if they were still wet.

Superior Court Judge Lance Ito barred Lee from describing a blood-drying experiment designed to reinforce his testimony, saying it didn't duplicate the conditions under which the evidence was stored.

Lee, considered the nation's top forensic scientist, didn't need the experiment to make his point. With a giant picture of the bloodstained bindle, he conducted a show-and-tell demonstration with monster swatches and a picture on a magnetic board.

Asked what was wrong with the stain pattern on the bindle, Lee replied that there were seven swatches but only four stains.

"If seven swatches were wet, I should see seven transfers," he said. "I only see four. The numbers don't add up."

The testimony completed a week that was dominated by developments outside the jury's presence, most of them involving the Mark Fuhrman tapes.

On the tapes, recorded between 1985-94, the detective talks about police brutality and repeatedly uses the word "nigger."

Fuhrman, who said he found a bloody glove on Simpson's property, testified at the trial that he hadn't used the word in the past 10 years. The defense says he is a racist capable of planting evidence.