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Attorney Shapiro threatens to quit as Simpson rambles to judge

Testimony hasn't even begun, and O.J. Simpson is out of patience and out of money. He almost lost his lawyer. And the prosecutor thinks most of the would-be jurors are lying.

That's what went on behind the closed doors of Judge Lance Ito's chambers Wednesday in Simpson's trial, transcripts showed.

Simpson, charged with murder in the June 12 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, tried to explain why he and his friend Al Cowlings led police on a bizarre freeway chase the day he was supposed to surrender.

"Mrs. Clark _ Ms. Clark _ said I was trying to run," Simpson told the judge, referring to prosecutor Marcia Clark. "Everyone knows that I called my father-in-law. . . . I admit that I was not in the right frame of mind at the time I was trying to get to my wife. . . . I was headed back home."

Defense attorney Robert Shapiro interrupted but Simpson continued talking, prompting the lawyer to say:

"Mr. Simpson, I am telling you that I will not allow you to speak, and I will resign as your lawyer if you continue to do so."

Simpson said, "Thank you," and stopped talking.

The transcript also revealed:

Clark believes most of the prospective jurors were lying when they said they could set aside their affection for the former football great and actor and judge the case on the facts.

"Many, if not most, are lying to the detriment of the people because they are sitting there as the fans of this defendant, saying, "We want to get on this jury because we want to turn a blind eye to your evidence and deaf ear to the testimony so we can acquit this man no matter what,' " she said.

Shapiro offered an equally dim view of the truthfulness of those in the jury pool: "We have 300 people begging to be on the case of the century and will give you any answer they want, unfortunately."

The $7,000 to $8,000 found in Cowlings' Bronco after the highway pursuit was money Simpson set aside for his children "in the event that he committed suicide," Shapiro said.

Simpson's funds are "virtually depleted" from legal costs and a trust for his children, Shapiro said.

Simpson expressed impatience with the trial: "I'm an innocent man. I want to get to the jury. . . . I want to get it over with as soon as I can. I have two young kids out there. That's my only concern. . . . I can't afford to be away from my kids any longer than I have to be away from my kids at this point."

The defense has contended that Simpson was distraught June 17 and failed to turn himself in as promised because he wanted to go to his ex-wife's grave. After he and Cowlings were seen on the freeway, a police pursuit ensued. It ended at Simpson's estate, where he was arrested.

In explaining why so much money was found in the Bronco, Shapiro said Simpson "has a habit and history, as being a wealthy man, of carrying a lot of cash, much more than most of us would carry around."

Prosecutors had strongly objected to releasing the transcripts on the grounds that Simpson's statement was a self-serving monologue.

But Ito rejected that argument, saying, "I don't see anything in the transcript that causes me to think it should be kept secret."

On Friday, prosecutors clarified their statement about the jury pool, saying they were concerned that potential jurors might lie in order to get on a history-making jury, but stopped short of accusing anyone of doing so.

MEDIA BACK AT JURY SELECTION: In yet another reversal, Ito reopened jury selection to the media Friday and promptly dismissed two prospective jurors who had disobeyed his order not to listen to news reports about the case.

The judge allowed three reporters inside the courtroom after the defense dropped its objection to having the media cover the portion of jury selection in which prospective jurors were to be asked whether publicity about the case has hampered their ability to be fair.

Later, Ito allowed an audio feed of the proceedings to be piped into the press room.