O.J. Simpson testifies on own behalf

Oct. 22, 2001 at 7:11 PM
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MIAMI, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Miami Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy denied O.J. Simpson's motion Monday for a mistrial and after testimony resumed the former football star and broadcaster took the witness stand on his own behalf.

Simpson faces charges of felony auto burglary and misdemeanor battery for allegedly reaching inside the car driven by Jeffrey Pattinson, 55, grabbing his glasses and scratching his face. The maximum penalty is 16 years in prison.

Simpson said he did not reach into the car to grab Pattinson's glasses during the traffic dispute and that Pattinson was the aggressor.

He said he told Pattinson: "'If I cut you off, I'm sorry, but what are you trying to do, kill my kids?' Then he (Pattinson) blew up. He puffed up like a big old bull frog and he really blew up."

Simpson said Pattinson tailgated him, flicked his lights and blew his horn after Simpson ran a stop sign.

The issue of the mistrial came up Friday when some of the eight jurors, two of whom are alternates, were seen discussing the case with one another. When they were questioned by the judge, they admitted it. Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, asked for a mistrial Friday and Murphy heard arguments Monday morning.

"I'm convinced that from the record there was no prejudice to the defendant and I deny the mistrial," Murphy ruled.

The first witness Monday was Pattinson's wife, Judy Pattinson. She described what it was like when her husband came home.

"He was in shock. He just couldn't believe anything like that could have happened," she said. "He had a scratch on his forehead -- on the side of his forehead."

The prosecution rested before lunch and the defense began its case in the afternoon with Simpson.

Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, accused both police and Pattinson of being out to get Simpson.

He said the police immediately focused in on Simpson rather than both of them. He said Pattinson was angry when Simpson moved into the neighborhood and was trying to make it unpleasant for him so he would move.

Galanter said Simpson was merely trying to protect his children because Pattinson was following Simpson's Lincoln Navigator dangerously close.

Simpson was acquitted of the June 1994 slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in a trial in Los Angeles that was televised nationally. A civil trial was held later and held Simpson liable for the two slayings. He was ordered to pay their families $33 million in damages.

Simpson moved to Miami-Dade County in September 2000.

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