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Cowlings testimony contradicts Simpson

A L S O :
Simpson returns to custody trial
December 3, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EST

SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- On the witness stand Tuesday, O.J. Simpson's longtime friend Al "A.C." Cowlings called Simpson his closest and dearest friend, then contradicted the sports hero's civil trial testimony.

Cowlings reluctantly admitted he had taken Nicole Brown Simpson, then married to the former football star, to the hospital after a fight with her husband on New Year's Eve 1989, and that she told him Simpson hit her. Simpson eventually pleaded no contest to spousal battery.


Cowlings gave mostly one-word "yes" and "no" answers as lawyers tried to get him to counter Simpson's sworn claim he "never ... never ... never" hit his wife.

Simpson's former teammate testified he was called to the house and took Nicole to the hospital that night, because he feared she had suffered a concussion.

Cowlings' testimony differed from an account he gave during a pretrial deposition. In it, Cowlings said he saw Nicole's bruises the morning after the incident, and was concerned enough to ask her if she wanted to go to the hospital.

On the witness stand, he said that meeting never took place, but that he did, later, take Nicole to the hospital at the insistence of O.J. Simpson. Simpson testified earlier that he wasn't sure how Nicole's face got bruised, but that he never slapped or hit her.

The families of Nicole and Ronald Goldman have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against Simpson, accusing him of liability in their June 1994 deaths. Simpson was acquitted of the murders last year.

Witnesses describe other incidents

Two other witnesses -- a self-described "retired model" and a pharmacist -- testified they saw Simpson hit his wife in the 1980s.


India Allen, Playboy's 1988 Playmate of the Year, said she was working as an assistant at a veterinarian's office in 1983, and was helping Nicole carry her dogs to her car when Simpson arrived. Nicole was wearing a silver fur coat.

"He was very angry," she testified. "He started yelling at her about wearing the coat out. ... He said, 'I didn't buy this coat for you to go (expletive) somebody else. I want the coat back.'"

Simpson tried to pull the coat off of Nicole. "She said, no, it's her goddamn coat," Allen said. "That's when I saw him strike her." She said the blow knocked Nicole's sunglasses off her face.

"It was the only time I ever saw her without her sunglasses," Allen said. "She had a fading bruise under her eye."

Albert Aguilera, a pharmacist, said he also saw Simpson strike his wife, in 1986 on an Orange County beach. "He had a more serious look on his face," Aguilera said. "Suddenly, he slapped her and she fell down."


Asked to describe further, he said, "He swung his right hand at her across the face, and she fell down."

Simpson, he said, knelt down over Nicole. Aguilera said he heard her say "no, no" in a "crying voice."

"She was on her knees on the sand and he was crouched over her," he said. Eventually, he said, Nicole stood up and ran away. Simpson waited a while and then followed.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Robert Baker suggested that Aguilera was mistaken, saying that with the waves crashing on the beach, he could not have heard Nicole say anything from 50 yards away.

Lie detector testimony excluded

Simpson insisted last week that he didn't take a lie detector test, despite harsh questioning by plaintiffs' attorney Daniel Petrocelli. The lawyer said Simpson did take a test, which he failed with a minus 22, indicating "extreme deception."

His line of questioning led Simpson's attorneys to call for a mistrial Tuesday morning. Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki denied their motion, but he did issue special instructions to the jurors.


"There is no evidence he took a lie detector test, there is no evidence of a score, there is no evidence of what the score means," Fujisaki told them. "You must treat the subject as though you never heard of it."

Petrocelli got the information about the alleged test from a book written with the help of Simpson's friend, Robert Kardashian. The plaintiffs failed to subpoena Kardashian and will apparently be unable to call him to the stand.

Simpson, meanwhile, was in nearby Orange County Tuesday morning, attending the custody trial for his two young children. Nicole's parents, who are fighting Simpson for custody, are expected to wrap up their case this week.

Correspondent Anne McDermott contributed to this report.


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