THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL

UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson offer their take on the Simpson trial. Joining them is defense attorney Stanley Greenberg, who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today's topic: If the gloves don't fit . . .

PETER ARENELLA

On the prosecution: Talk about a self-inflicted wound! Nicole's purchase of gloves that matched the make and style of the pair found at the crime scenes seemed devastating until Chris Darden had O.J. try them on; they didn't appear to fit. Now, the prosecution will have to explain why appearances can be deceiving.

On the defense: After months of testimony establishing a mountain of physical evidence implicating O.J., a simple demonstration might have toppled it all. The beaming expressions of his lawyers reflected their understanding that the prosecution had just given them what they had always wanted: O.J. showing jurors his innocence without subjecting himself to cross-examination.

LAURIE LEVENSON

On the prosecution: This could be the prosecutor's worst nightmare. Why don't the gloves fit? The prosecution's entire case could come down to answering that question. No matter what the coroner hypothesized, the killer clearly wore the gloves. Either they have shrunk or the prosecution is in trouble.

On the defense: The defense was almost jumping for joy when Simpson tried on the bloody gloves and they appeared too small. No cross-examination could be as devastating as a simple demonstration in front of the jury. Up to now, the defense could only poke holes in the prosecution's case. Now they might have the upper hand.

STANLEY GREENBERG

On the prosecution: Prosecutors took jurors uptown from the morgue to Bloomingdale's. Their efforts to show that the murder gloves fit O.J. didn't go as smoothly as they must have hoped; but it may not be all lost, since glove expert Richard Rubin said those gloves should fit him. Besides, a glove too small might explain why it came off at Bundy.

On the defense: Whether the jury buys O.J's efforts to show that the gloves don't fit may well depend on their belief of whether gloves shrink after DNA testing. The lingering uncertainties left by the coroner, coupled with the prosecution's failure to show a clear glove fit, may be the stuff that adds up to reasonable doubt.

Compiled by HENRY WEINSTEIN / Los Angeles Times

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