THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL : Battle Erupts Over Lesser Murder Option

A legal battle began Monday over a prosecution attempt to have Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito give the O.J. Simpson jury instructions that would include the option of a second-degree murder verdict.

The defense filed a motion vigorously objecting to such instructions.

Simpson's attorneys want the jury to render an all-or-nothing verdict: first-degree murder or acquittal. The defense contends that the prosecution has presented the case as a premeditated, first-degree murder and that Simpson's position is that "this was certainly a premeditated murder, committed by someone else." Giving jurors the second-degree murder option "simply invites a compromise verdict," the defense motion states.

Another defense motion asks for 38 special instructions, including one telling jurors they can reject all of former Detective Mark Fuhrman's testimony if they believe he deliberately testified falsely about his "racial animosity."

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