O.J. lawyer sets sights on Nicole

  Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Gale Holland


  USA Today


  Page 01A

  (Copyright 1996)


  SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- O.J. Simpson's defense lawyer Thursday branded

  the evidence against his client a litany of lies and indirectly blamed Nicole

  Brown Simpson's death on her ``dangerous'' lifestyle.


  Robert Baker, delivering his opening statement in the wrongful-death civil suit

  against his client, characterized Simpson's ex-wife as hard-drinking, drug-using

  and sexually promiscuous.


  Nicole Simpson routinely was ``having parties, inviting . . . prostitutes, drug

  users, into her house with her children,'' Baker said. She had trouble with men,

  he said, telling jurors one of her affairs led to a pregnancy she terminated in



  The implication: Along her troubled path, she ran into someone other than

  Simpson who killed her and her friend Ron Goldman in June 1994.


  Wednesday, lawyers for the plaintiffs -- the Brown and Goldman families --

  detailed claims that an obsessed Simpson killed his ex-wife and Goldman in a



  Baker told jurors Simpson never stalked Nicole, that he watched her closely

  because he worried about his children.


  The attack on Nicole's reputation was a strategy change from the defense's

  actions in the criminal case, which ended in O.J. Simpson's acquittal.


  The rest of Baker's statement condemned the evidence against Simpson, labeling

  it planted or tainted.


  Baker addressed new items from the plaintiffs' opening statement. Among them:

  a photo showing Simpson in shoes matching those that left prints at the murder

  scene. Baker said ``this photograph is a phony. . . . It was doctored.''