O.J. Detective Mark Fuhrman Wanted Damning Audio Tapes To Be Destroyed
It was a turning point in the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial when it stopped being about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and focused on Detective Mark Fuhrman.
Audio tapes existed of Fuhrman using the n-word in interviews with screenwriter Laura Hart McKinney, who was researching a movie about cops. She had 13 hours of taped research of Fuhrman’s interviews.
In an interview in 1997, Fuhrman told INSIDE EDITION’s Deborah Norville he actually tried to have the tapes destroyed.
“It was one of those doomed feelings,” he said.
Norville asked: “You called Laura McKinney and asked her to destroy the tapes, didn't you?”
He replied. “Oh, absolutely! Wouldn't you?”
Norville asked: “What did she say?”
“She said: ‘No, I can't do that.’ And I found that unusual. I remember saying exactly to Laura: 'Laura, they won't understand what we were doing,’ and they didn't,” he recalled.
When Fuhrman first took the stand in March 1995, attorney F. Lee Bailey, a member of the Simpson so-called “Dream Team” laid the trap.
“We intend to show in incident after incident that Detective Fuhrman was willing to violate the law and the federal civil rights statute to unfairly prosecute black men he found in the company of white women,” Bailey said. Fuhrman denied these allegations.
Bailey then hit Fuhrman with a question many did not expect: “And you say Detective Fuhrman that you have never used the word n***** to describe black people or referred to black people as n*****?”
“In the last ten years,” Fuhrman replied.
“That's what I am saying,” Bailey responded.
The tapes later came into play months later and the circus around them was shown to audiences on Tuesday night’s episode of The People Vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.
When Fuhrman was called back to the stand in September of that year, he knew he was sunk and repeatedly pleaded the fifth to every question defense attorney Johnnie Cochran asked.
The existence of the tapes damaged Fuhrman’s credibility and fatally damaged the prosecution case as seen the series.
Famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz was a member of Simpson’s legal team spoke to IE.
"If there had not been Mark Fuhrman, this is a case that they [the prosecution] could have won," he said.
Dershowitz added: "In the minds of the jury, it confirmed what we [the defense] had been trying to prove -- that the LAPD committed testa lying, they committed perjury on the witness stand, and they tampered with evidence. So, it was a gift.
Instead of Simpson being convicted, Fuhrman became the only man convicted of a crime arising out of the murders. He was sentenced to three years probation for perjury.