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O.J. Simpson Asks Court to Dismiss Civil Verdict

Litigation: His request follows state appeals panel's recent decision to uphold the $33.5-million judgment.

March 08, 2001|ERIC MALNIC | TIMES STAFF WRITER

O.J. Simpson asked the California Supreme Court on Wednesday to overturn the $33.5-million wrongful-death judgment against him.

The former football star filed the request in Los Angeles without the assistance of an attorney. Details were not immediately available, but Dr. Henry Johnson, a close friend and investigator for Simpson, said the request alleged that Simpson was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial.

In a civil trial in 1997, a Santa Monica jury found Simpson, who had been acquitted earlier of criminal charges, liable for the June 12, 1994, deaths of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Six weeks ago, the 2nd District Court of Appeal found unanimously that the civil trial court "did not err, and the compensatory and punitive damages are not excessive."

The appeals panel ruled that the jury correctly ordered Simpson to pay $8.5 million to Sharon Rufo and Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman's parents and heirs, in compensatory damages; $12.5 million in punitive damages to Ronald Goldman's estate, and an additional $12.5 million in punitive damages to Nicole Brown Simpson's estate.

Simpson, who has said he cannot afford to pay the judgment, argued Wednesday that his constitutional right to confront his accusers at the civil trial was denied when attorneys for the victims' families decided not to put Los Angeles Police Det. Mark Fuhrman on the stand, according to Johnson.

Johnson said Simpson also argued that vital telephone records were not made available during the civil trial. Those records would show, Johnson said, that Nicole Brown Simpson was alive and talking to her mother on the telephone at the same time her former husband was being taken to Los Angeles International Airport in a limousine.

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