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The O.j. Simpson Murder Trial

Arenella, Levenson & Co.: The Legal Pad

March 29, 1995

UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson offer their take on the Simpson trial. Joining them is Los Angeles defense lawyer Albert De Blanc Jr., who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today's topic: Brian (Kato) Kaelin concludes his testimony and limousine driver Allan Park takes the witness stand.

PETER ARENELLA

On the prosecution: Another very good day. Kaelin ended his testimony by conceding that O.J. spent an unusual amount of time with him the day of the murders, and key aspects of his testimony were confirmed by Rachel Ferrara. Park offered compelling testimony that O.J.'s Bronco was nowhere to be seen when Park arrived at Rockingham at 10:22 p.m. and that he saw a black person of Simpson's size enter the estate minutes before O.J. finally responded to his buzzer.

PETER ARENELLA

On the defense: Cochran massaged Park's very damaging testimony so that by day's end it took on a more innocent hue: O.J. hardly looked or acted like he had just come from a bloody murder scene; if O.J.'s Bronco wasn't at Rockingham when Park arrived, why didn't Park see or at least hear the Bronco when Simpson came back? And is Park's new, obstructed-view explanation for why he didn't see the Bronco when he and O.J. left credible?

LAURIE LEVENSON

On the prosecution: Even though Kaelin captured the media's attention, Park seems the more important witness. Not only did Park establish that Simpson was not home during the alleged time of the murders, but he also suggested that O.J. was trying to sneak back into the house while Park waited at the gate. Park then described O.J. as sweating during the drive to the airport. As Park filled in the picture, one key question emerged: Where is the small black duffel bag?

Laurie Levenson

On the defense: Cochran began to pick apart Park's testimony. He established several key points: Park did not see a cut on O.J.'s hand, Park never saw the Bronco at Rockingham, even when they were leaving for the airport, and the unknown figure entering Simpson's house may have been O.J. in his robe after taking his luggage out for the limo driver. Through his questions, Cochran portrayed Simpson as not panicked and even willing to sign an autograph at the airport.

ALBERT DE BLANC JR.

On the prosecution: Park is an independent witness and therefore more credible than many other witnesses. His testimony is critical to the prosecution's effort to show that Simpson was away from his house until 10:55 p.m. the night of the murders. His testimony contradicts suggestions raised by the defense during their examination of Kaelin: Kato testified that when he went to his room to eat, he last saw O.J. headed toward his house and he did not hear O.J. leave.

ALBERT DE BLANC JR.

On the defense: Cochran's cross-examination of Park was successful in that Park did not support the prosecution's theory that O.J. carried with him a tote bag that he didn't want anyone else to handle. Previously, Clark suggested that bag may have contained the murder weapon or bloody clothes. Additionally, Cochran elicited testimony from Park that he shook Simpson's hand and did not see a cut or any bleeding.

Compiled by HENRY WEINSTEIN / Los Angeles Times

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