February 28, 1996
Web Posted at: 3:30 p.m. EST
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- An attorney for O.J. Simpson criticized the media and attorneys for the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, accusing them of trying to shape public opinion about the case before it goes to trial.
Attorney Robert Baker spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time since Simpson's deposition began in the wrongful-death civil case last month.
Baker complained about daily news briefings being held by the attorneys for the families, and the intense coverage which he said created a "media frenzy." (75K AIFF sound or 75K WAV sound) He also complained that depositions had been leaked to reporters, and about information he referred to as "half truths."
Baker refused to answer questions but reminded reporters that Simpson was acquitted of all charges during his criminal trial and remains "innocent until proven guilty." The civil case, he said, should be decided by a jury that has not been tainted by news reports.
Simpson was acquitted in October of the June 1994 slayings of his ex-wife and Goldman, but the victims' families filed the wrongful-death suits against him, anyway.
Baker also said Simpson never offered a financial settlement to the Brown or Goldman families. A New York newspaper had reported that a settlement was being considered by the parties. Attorneys for the families have denied the settlement reports.
Attorneys for the victims' families responded strongly to Baker's comments. (162K AIFF sound or 162K WAV sound)
Both Daniel Petrocelli, attorney for the Goldman family, and Michael Brewer, lawyer for Ron Goldman's mother, told reporters that in Simpson's criminal trial, his attorneys were constantly in the spotlight making statements that were never questioned. They said they now have the chance to present their views of the case.
Brewer said his questioning of Simpson brought a better understanding of Simpson's dynamics and attitudes. He told reporters that in his view, O.J. Simpson was simmering with "underlying hostility."
It was expected that retired police detective Philip Vannatter would be deposed Friday, but the attorneys now say they have withdrawn their subpoena.
Wednesday's schedule calls for a hearing on Simpson's finances.
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