In legal papers made public Friday, the estranged husband of O. J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark alleges that she misled Judge Lance A. Ito last week when she said she could not attend an evening session of the trial because she had to take care of the couple's two young sons.
Explaining why she could not stay late for the proposed night testimony of defense witness Rosa Lopez on Feb. 24, Marcia Clark said:
"I have informed the court that I cannot be present tonight because I do have to take care of my children, and I don't have anyone who can do that for me. And I do not want proceedings to go before a jury when I can't be here."
But in a Feb. 28 Superior Court filing in the couple's divorce case, Gordon Clark, who takes the children on alternate weekends, says that Feb. 24 was his customary night to pick the boys up at 6 p.m. for the weekend.
"In the later part of the afternoon of Feb. 24, 1995, however," Gordon Clark states in the declaration, Marcia Clark "unexpectedly called me at work and told me not to pick up the kids that evening. Instead, she said she wanted to drop them off at my place at around 7:30 p.m. She dropped them off at 8:45 p.m. I had no idea at that time why (she) did not want me to pick our kids up at my usual time."
Concluding, Gordon Clark asserts: "Clearly, (Marcia Clark) does not have any child-care problems. Any such implication is not accurate, misrepresents the actual facts and does a disservice to me and our children."
In response, Mark Fleischer, one of Marcia Clark's attorneys in the divorce case, said Friday: "Marcia Clark has an impeccable professional reputation and record, and any allegations to the contrary by Mr. Clark are outrageous and completely untrue. Ms. Clark regrets that personal family matters have been inappropriately made public, and she has no intention of trying her marital dissolution case in the media. "
Roslyn Soudry, Gordon Clark's divorce attorney, said neither she nor her client would comment on the latest filing.
Defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. has suggested that prosecutor Clark may have used her child-care duties as a ruse to delay Lopez's testimony until this week--an accusation that Marcia Clark said she found offensive "as a woman, as a single parent, as a prosecutor and as an officer of the court."
Although Gordon Clark's declaration was filed Feb. 28, it was not placed in a file open to the public until Friday afternoon. In the document, he says the couple's children were not ill on Feb. 24, and maintains that even if he had not been able to pick up the boys that evening, his wife's live-in housekeeper would have been there to care for the children.
Separated for the past year, both Clarks are seeking custody of their children, who now live with Marcia Clark. Gordon Clark has contended in court papers that the Simpson trial has consumed so much of his wife's time that the boys would be better off living with him.