Daze In Court – February 17, 1995

Judge Lance Ito - oh, the wacky whims of the Jury System.

Judge Lance Ito – aka; Lance, The Cat Herder.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS World New Roundup – February 17, 1995 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

Twenty years ago, February 17th was all about courts and trials and lawsuits.

Starting with the infamous “Trial of The Century” – the OJ Simpson Murder Trial; Jury misconduct was the big holdup for this day’s proceedings. Judge Lance Ito herded the Defense and Prosecution teams into his office for the third day in what was described as “jury matters”, and what Defense Attorney Johnnie Cochran referred to as “hearsay” in allegations two jurors were pre-judging the case. Jurors were being excused left and right and the pool of alternates was getting thin. With the trial barely underway, losing so many jurors so early could pose a problem, so Judge Ito was being careful to examine the accusations.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country; Jury deliberations were set to take place in the case of Colin Ferguson, who was accused of killing six people and wounding 19 others in what was described as “The Long Island Railroad Massacre“. Ferguson, who had himself as a lawyer, gave baffling closing arguments, accusing the police of a conspiracy and labeling as false the testimony of surviving victims. He asked the Jury for acquittal.

And alleged Computer hacker Kevin Mitnick was facing a bond hearing on this day. Mitnick was accused of cyber-theft to the tune of more than $1 million, including at least 20,000 credit card numbers.

Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams was on the front-burner over allegations he claimed were outrageous fabrications made by “someone with a grudge”. Williams was upset by reports he may have made too many trips to Las Vegas, accepted free Casino accommodations among other perks and let his wife use a cellphone billed to the Department. The “grudge-bearing whistle-blower” was revealed by the L.A. Times to be a retired Deputy Chief.

A hearing was scheduled this day regarding the lawsuit over alleged misappropriations of funds at the NAACP, by Board Chairman William Gibson. The suit was aimed at forcing Gibson to release an audit of his business expenses, and could delay leadership elections scheduled for the 18th. Critics accused Gibson of using the financially strapped organizations funds for his own benefit, and were calling for his resignation.

And The Justice Department was undertaking a preliminary investigation over Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s finances. Already under a cloud of suspicion, the Brown investigation was just one more in what was looking like open-season for investigations of the Clinton White House. Already under investigation for various accusations was Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, as well as an Independent Council investigating former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. To say nothing of the investigation of President Clinton over the Whitewater Land deal.

Quite a day for legal wrangling, this February 17th in 1995, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.

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