This time the gloves fit.
O.J. Simpson today showed jurors that he could easily slip into a new pair of leather gloves of the same style and original size as the bloodstained gloves that he had apparent difficulty donning during a riveting courtroom demonstration last Thursday.
"I think they fit quite well," testified prosecution witness Richard Rubin, former general manager of Aris-Isotoner, which manufactured the men's extra-large, brown leather gloves -- the same type allegedly worn by the killer of Simpson's ex-wife and her friend.
Prosecutors, trying to wrap up their case by next week, also presented telephone records showing Simpson had tried unsuccessfully to call his then-girlfriend, model Paula Barbieri, at least six times on the day of the killings. She was not at her homes in Los Angeles or Florida because she was staying in the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, in a room reserved with a credit card belonging to pop singer Michael Bolton, according to hotel records.
Simpson smiled slightly as he approached a lectern, silently pulled on the new gloves and held up his hands for jurors to see. Before the jurors had entered the courtroom, Judge Lance A. Ito ordered Simpson not to comment on the gloves' fit, as he did last week when he loudly complained that the bloodstained gloves were "too tight." Ito also ordered lawyers for both sides to keep quiet during today's demonstration.
Jurors, who appeared fascinated by last week's demonstration, showed little reaction today.
Debate over the glove demonstration escalated into sharp sniping between prosecutor Christopher Darden and defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who were each fined $250 -- later reduced to $100 each -- for comments made during a sidebar conference with Ito. A transcript of the comments will be available Thursday.
After court, Cochran belittled the new glove demonstration, saying that "it doesn't make any difference" because last Thursday's attempt showed the crime scene gloves "don't fit. And they can't make them fit."
The gloves are key evidence in the case against Simpson. The left-hand glove was found beside the stabbed and slashed bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman. A police detective said he found the right-hand glove behind a guest house on the celebrity defendant's estate on the morning after the June 12, 1994, killings. DNA tests showed that the right-hand glove bore blood consistent with Simpson's and both victims.
Rubin reexamined the inside of the bloodstained gloves and found markings that revealed that the two were manufactured as a pair, as long suggested by the prosecution.
Prosecutors re-called Rubin to the witness stand today as part of their continuing effort to minimize the damage from last Thursday's demonstration, which backfired when Simpson struggled and grimaced as he tried to put on the bloody gloves.
On Friday, Rubin explained to jurors that leather gloves shrink when wet, and said the bloody gloves appeared to have shrunk. He said the gloves, in their original condition, should have fit Simpson.
Prosecutor Darden, who has been widely criticized by legal analysts for attempting last week's demonstration without adequate preparation, obtained permission from Ito today to measure Simpson's hands before asking him to try on the new gloves. Cochran, speaking outside the jury's presence, quipped that Darden should have thought of measuring Simpson's hands last week.
Cochran argued unsuccessfully that Ito should prohibit today's "bogus courtroom demonstration in which they seek to recapture some of the credibility for the mistake they made last Thursday."
With the new gloves, Darden said today, "Mr. Simpson won't have the opportunity at that time to put on Latex gloves and jack around and play games with the jury."
Later, the prosecution presented Simpson's cellular telephone records, which showed the last two calls to Barbieri were placed at 10:03 p.m., about 15 minutes before the prosecution's estimate of the time of the slayings.
Prosecutors contend the records show Simpson was in his Ford Bronco at the time, because the calls were made from the cellular phone he kept in the vehicle. Defense attorneys have suggested that Simpson was chipping golf balls in his front yard at that hour, awaiting a limousine ride to the airport, and found it easier to grab the mobile phone than return to his mansion to place the calls.
Prosecutors also hope to counter Cochran's contention Simpson had a close, happy relationship with Barbieri. The calls suggest Simpson was unaware she was in Las Vegas, and may have become angry in his attempts to reach her, prosecutors contend.
Separately, a Kansas City judge today rejected a defense request to order football running back Marcus Allen to Los Angeles to testify in the case. Defense attorneys wanted Allen to tell jurors he had an intimate affair with Nicole Simpson after she separated from her husband, and that Simpson forgave Allen and even hosted Allen's wedding at his estate. Allen has denied the affair, but defense attorneys hope he will confirm it under oath, thereby countering the prosecution's depiction of Simpson as obsessively possessive of his ex-wife. CAPTION: O.J. Simpson, on trial in the killings of his ex-wife and her friend, displays to jury the fit of a pair of new leather gloves the same style and original size as the bloodstained gloves that he had apparent difficulty donning during a dramatic courtroom demonstration last week. Defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. belittled the second test, saying last week's test showed the crime scene gloves don't fit. CAPTION: Richard Rubin, former general manager with Aris-Isotoner Inc., measures O.J. Simpson's left hand before conducting a second glove test.