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MARCIA CLARK DISLIKES JUDGE LANCE Ito. She felt she had to pretend to play a deferential, submissive female role with him. According to one source, the judge bears no fondness for Clark either. But he was also a goad to the defense lawyers, who had to trek into Ito's chambers to see to what they called his "petty needs." Says defense attorney Peter Neufeld: "I was very disappointed with Judge Ito, the fact that he was so concerned with his status as a celebrity, his willingness to entertain personalities in chambers, to show the lawyers little videotapes of skits on television." One day, says Neufeld, Ito brought all the lawyers into chambers to show them a clip of the "Dancing Itos" from Jay Leno's Tonight Show. "He had thought it was great and loved it and wanted all of us to see it in chambers. You may find that amusing on a personal level, but I can assure you that on a professional level it is so unacceptable, for a judge who is presiding over a murder where two people lost their lives in the most gruesome and horrible fashion, and where a third person has his life on the line, to bring the lawyers into chambers to show them comic revues." Ito even told the lawyers Simpson jokes that he had heard. Says Neufeld: "As someone who has tried cases for 20 years, I found it deplorable, and I was shocked."


"JOHNNIE COCHRAN MAY BE THE QUARTERback, and Bob Shapiro is a running back, but O.J. Simpson is the team owner," Alan Dershowitz, a defense consultant, told TIME last spring. Says Cochran: "If we were taking a break for 15 minutes, we would spend the whole break talking to O.J. I mean, he knows the facts and certain things he wanted me to say."

And if the trial was not going his way, Simpson went into action. Simpson was particularly alarmed in February when his friend Ron Shipp, a former cop, took the stand for the prosecution. Shipp testified that he had taken L.A.P.D. classes on domestic violence and had sat down with O.J. and Nicole--at Nicole's request--to warn O.J. that he fit the pattern of an abuser. Worse, Shipp told the court he had been with Simpson the night he returned from Chicago and had listened as his friend described dreaming of killing Nicole. On cross-examination, Cochran's associate Carl Douglas attempted to bully Shipp into submission, bringing up his history of alcoholism and suggesting he was merely one of O.J.'s hangers--on rather than a friend.

To many observers this tactic backfired, making Shipp more sympathetic, rather than less credible. Simpson was furious. From jail, he organized a telephone conference with the Dream Team and announced, "I'll decide who the running backs are in this game!" Says writer-producer Larry Schiller, who co-wrote Simpson's most recent book, I Want to Tell You: "The Shipp thing brought a sense of immediacy to the trial for O.J. The trial was like the Gaud’ mosaic in Barcelona. That was the day O.J. truly understood that any little stone out of place could cause him to spend the rest of his life in jail." Douglas, though he remained crucial to the defense organization, never again cross-examined a major witness. And Simpson became more and more like a lawyer himself.

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