Jury close to getting O.J. case

  Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Richard Price


  USA Today


  Page 01A

  (Copyright 1997)


  SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Jurors in the O.J. Simpson civil trial are expected to

  begin their deliberations next week.


  Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki had hoped to give them their instructions Thursday but

  closing arguments by Simpson's lawyers went through the day and resume



  Court is closed today while Fujisaki attends a conference.


  In closing arguments Thursday, Simpson's lawyers used the same strategy that

  won the acquittal at Simpson's criminal trial -- attacking the evidence as



  Lawyer Robert Blasier, speaking to jurors from a wheelchair after back surgery,

  described the police probe of his client as ``a picture of corruption, of



  ``We're not going to be able to paint you a complete picture of that,'' Blasier said,

  but added, ``We'll paint some of it.''


  And that should be enough to find in favor of Simpson, he argued, quoting

  defense forensic expert Henry Lee: ``If you have a plate of spaghetti and find a

  cockroach in it, you don't have to search for another one to discard the entire



  The defense will be followed by rebuttal arguments from lawyers for the

  plaintiffs -- the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. After

  that, Fujisaki assigns the case to the jury, possibly as early as Monday.

  PHOTO, Color,Fred Prouser, Reuters