O. J. Simpson's lawyers have asked that television cameras be excluded from a crucial hearing on the admissibility of DNA evidence so that jurors will not be exposed to potentially prejudicial information, according to a letter sent to Judge Lance Ito.
"If the courtroom camera is eliminated during the (DNA) hearing, it will reduce the extent of media saturation while the jury panel is at risk," Simpson attorney Peter Neufeld said in a letter to Ito last week.
In addition, Neufeld suggested that the lawyers for both sides avoid any discussion of the DNA test results during the hearing, which is not scheduled to begin until after a jury has been selected.
DNA evidence is expected to play a key role in the prosecution case against Simpson, the former football hero who has pleaded not guilty to the June 12 killings of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman.
In his letter, Neufeld warns if prosecutors call their full complement of potential witnesses and defense attorneys summon a like number, the DNA hearing could last as long as five weeks, far longer than previously has been estimated. He asked Ito, a Superior Court judge, to limit the number of witnesses each side is allowed to call.
The trial is proceeding more slowly than anticipated because jury selection in the case is moving at a grindingly slow pace. Candidate after candidate has been dismissed after admitting to the slightest hint of exposure to publicity in the wake of Ito's admonition directing them to avoid all television, radio, newspapers and magazines _ and to refrain from even entering bookstores.
After a brief hiatus Tuesday morning, jury selection resumed in the afternoon.
The jury selection process began Sept. 26. Trial is expected to last up to six months.