Simpson to seek dismissal of case


LOS ANGELES -- Attorneys for O. J. Simpson already have begun preparing a battery of motions in an attempt to undermine the prosecution case against the athlete-turned-actor and to bolster his contention of innocence, Mr. Simpson's lead lawyer said in an interview yesterday.

"We are only going to file motions that are legally supportable and that support O. J.'s innocence," said Robert L. Shapiro, the Los Angeles lawyer who heads Mr. Simpson's high-profile legal team. "We are not going to file anything frivolous."

Among the motions already being drafted, Mr. Shapiro said, is one to dismiss the case based on the lack of prosecution evidence presented during the preliminary hearing directly linking Mr. Simpson to the murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman, 25.

At the same time, Mr. Shapiro said, defense attorneys will introduce a motion contesting evidence obtained during a warrantless search of Mr. Simpson's home and another to challenge evidence seized under a subsequent search warrant.

In addition, a number of so-called "in limine" motions seeking to limit evidence or testimony in the case are likely to be offered, he said.

Those are only a few of the challenges being mounted to the prosecution's case, Mr. Shapiro said, adding that he and other Simpson attorneys spent most of the day Monday and yesterday drafting motions and sharing them with their client during the limited visitation hours at the Men's Central Jail.

Despite the extensive motions envisioned, Mr. Shapiro is pressing for an early trial -- perhaps as soon as September.

While Mr. Simpson's lawyers launch the next phase of their assault on the prosecution case, investigators are continuing to sift evidence and chase down leads.

Yesterday, detectives presented to the district attorney's office the results of the Los Angeles Police Department's investigation of Al Cowlings, who came to his former teammate's aid on the day Mr. Simpson failed to surrender to police as promised.

The police file provides evidence so prosecutors can decide whether criminal charges are warranted, officials said.

If convicted of harboring or concealing a person wanted for committing a felony, Mr. Cowlings could face a year in prison and a fine of $5,000. His lawyer, Donald Re, has said that Mr. Cowlings was not attempting to help Mr. Simpson flee, but was trying to keep him from committing suicide.

Police sources said yesterday that they doubted whether a case would be filed, in part because of Mr. Cowlings' public role in bringing Mr. Simpson back home, where both men were arrested.

Detective Tom Lange, one of two lead investigators in the Simpsonprobe, went to the jail yesterday to collect a hair sample from the football legend. Mr. Simpson's hairs will be compared to strands recovered from a blue knit cap found at the Brentwood murder scene.

In addition, law enforcement sources said yesterday that prosecutors have met for the first time with a witness who said that she saw a car resembling Mr. Simpson's near the scene of the crime on the night the murders took place.

That witness, a young woman who was jogging in the neighborhood shortly before the killings, met with homicide detectives last month.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times the same day, she said that she could not see anyone inside the car but added that the vehicle looked like Mr. Simpson's white Ford Bronco.

According to her, the car arrived between 9:45 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. and parked near Ms. Simpson's home.

The jogger said she stopped circling the block around 10:10 p.m. and did not witness the killings.

The jogger's description of the car near the murder scene could bolster the prosecution's attempts to undermine Mr. Simpson's alibi.

Mr. Simpson said that he was at home waiting for a limousine to take him to the airport when Mr. Goldman and Ms. Simpson were killed, but the limousine driver testified during the preliminary hearing that Mr. Simpson did not answer his door until about 11 p.m.

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