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THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL : ‘This Is Not . . . the Fuhrman Trial’ : Courts: Victim’s family angrily declares that Simpson’s lawyers have diverted attention from case’s central focus.

TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER

After 14 months of grieving, vigils and endless days at the courthouse, the family of murder victim Ronald Lyle Goldman declared Wednesday that the O.J. Simpson murder case has become a perversion of what a trial should be.

In a dramatic news conference, televised live, they blasted Simpson’s defense team, contending that the former football star’s lawyers have used slick tactics to divert the central focus of the double murder trial.

“Ron and Nicole were butchered by their client,” said Fred Goldman, Ron’s father. “This is not now the [Mark] Fuhrman trial. This is a trial about the man who murdered my son,” he said, intermittently crying.

“As you all know, we normally don’t speak out like this,” a red-faced Kim Goldman said at noon to reporters on the first floor of the Criminal Courts Building in Downtown Los Angeles.

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“But I’m fed up and my emotions are up to here,” said Goldman’s sister, pointing to her head and choking back tears. “Over and above the loss of my brother, I have all this other crap to deal with. . . . These last few days have pushed me to the edge. I’ve never been so offended by the defense.”

What drove them to the brink, they said, was the prospect that the prosecution’s case--which they believe is built on mountains of evidence proving that Simpson killed his ex--wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman--could be undermined by the introduction of tapes on which former LAPD detective Fuhrman reputedly used the word nigger dozens of times since 1985. In testimony, Fuhrman denied using the word in the last 10 years.

Simpson’s lawyers contend that they want the jury to hear the so-called Fuhrman tapes to show the officer lied on the witness stand, as they have a right to do under a Supreme Court decision. They say the tapes will help demonstrate that Fuhrman is a racist who had a motive to plant evidence--a bloody glove--against their client.

Nothing could be further from the truth, retorted the Goldmans, accusing the defense of sinister motives.

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“Are we all fools? Do they take us all for morons?” the elder Goldman asked. “We all know what they want is to inflame the emotions of the jury . . . with issues that don’t relate to this trial.

“How dare they take the position that all they want to do is prove perjury,” he said, anger rising in his voice. “They are liars,” he said, as his daughter and wife, Patti, held fast to his arm.

The threesome wore buttons bearing Ron’s picture and the words, “In Our Thoughts Everyday.”

Kim Goldman and her stepmother have attended almost every court session, and Fred Goldman has been there often. They even were present when gory autopsy photos of the victims were displayed in the courtroom.

They have made few public statements since the June 12, 1994, murders. But a few moments after prosecutor Christopher A. Darden and defense lawyer Robert L. Shapiro lobbed verbal salvos at one another in the courtroom over alleged ethical breaches, the clearly distraught Goldmans came to the same first-floor spot where Simpson’s attorneys had held a news conference less than 24 hours earlier.

“I’m like sick to my stomach,” Kim Goldman said. “This is embarrassing to the judicial system. I’ve never been a part of this before. This is repulsive to me,” she said, before surrendering the microphone to her father.

He remarked that whether Fuhrman said “some rather disturbing things” has nothing to do with whether Simpson murdered his only son.

“There is not one scintilla of proof that has come from the defense, not one iota of evidence that has come from the defense, to indicate that there has been planting of evidence or conspiracy,” Fred Goldman said. “But they have been playing that bull from Day One.”

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The normally aggressive Simpson press corps was unusually subdued, asking only one question after he finished speaking. “Would you have supported a prosecution attempt to remove Judge Lance Ito?” one reporter asked.

“We support the prosecution a hundred percent, [in] whatever they feel they need to do,” responded Kim Goldman, who frequently talks with the prosecutors during courtroom breaks.

Fred Goldman left the courthouse shortly after the news conference, but Kim and Patti returned to Ito’s ninth-floor courtroom. During a break, they chatted with supporters in the hallway. At day’s end, they drove home to Oak Park in Ventura County.


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