January 22, 1996
Web posted at: 12:20 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Jim Hill
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson never testified during his criminal trial, where he was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. But beginning Monday -- in the civil cases filed against him -- he can be grilled extensively by lawyers for the victims' families.
Experts say the deposition -- videotaped and held behind closed doors -- will likely run for several days and center on Simpson's alibi.
"I think the most difficult task for Simpson is to come up with a clear, consistent, believable story for where he was between 9:45 and eleven on the night of the murders," said University of Southern California professor Erwin Chemerinsky.
Already, there are several apparent inconsistencies. At 10:05 p.m. on June 13, 1994, records show that Simpson made a phone call to his then girlfriend Paula Barbieri. But Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran told the criminal trial jury in opening statements that Simpson was in his yard chipping golf balls.
And in closing arguments, Cochran said Simpson spent the time packing for a trip to Chicago. But limousine driver Alan Park testified that Simpson told him he was sleeping.
Experts say the deposition is crucial for both sides for several reasons:
--It will essentially lock Simpson into his story. --Any admissions he makes can be used against him at trial. --And any inconsistencies could be used to undermine the credibility of all his statements.
Simpson may have locked himself into some aspects of his story already. In a telephone call to CNN's Larry King Live on October 4, 1995, Simpson said he was the figure Alan Park said entered the front door of Simpson's home just before 11 p.m.
"Alan Park said roughly 15 feet from my front door ... which...was me... walking out of my front door dropping my bags and going in," he said. (77K AIFF sound or 77K WAV sound)
Within minutes, Simpson came back out for his trip to the airport. But according to Park, something was different.
"Alan Park saw the figure go into the house in dark clothes," said Chemerinsky. "Simpson came out to the limo with different clothes. And now he has to answer the question that's never been answered -- where are the dark clothes?"
The victims' families have also subpoenaed the video Simpson is selling -- in which he discusses the case.
Unlike the criminal trial, Simpson cannot take the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions in the deposition. But his attorneys will be present, and are expected to raise objections to many of the questions.
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