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SIMPSON GOLF BAG SEARCH DESCRIBED : IN DEPOSITION KARDASHIAN SAYS CURIOSITY DROVE HIM, COWLINGS TO LOOK 2 WEEKS AFTER KILLINGS.

Byline: Michael Fleeman Associated Press

O.J. Simpson's closest friends, Robert Kardashian and Al ``A.C.'' Cowlings, searched his golf bag for a murder weapon just two weeks after Simpson's ex-wife was murdered, but they didn't find one, an attorney said Wednesday.

In a deposition Tuesday, Kardashian testified that curiosity drove him to inspect the bag, which was being kept in his garage while Simpson was in jail, said Daniel Petrocelli, plaintiff attorney in a civil case against Simpson.

``They tore it apart. They emptied it. They looked for blood, and claimed to have not found a murder weapon,'' Petrocelli said in an interview. Kardashian testified that no blood was found, either, according to Petrocelli.

Simpson, in New York after a public relations tour in Great Britain, didn't dispute Kardashian's testimony.

``I am sure he is right,'' Simpson said. ``He is a God-fearing man. We are great friends. He has gone to church all his life, and I'm sure he told the truth.''

Testimony by Kardashian wrapped up his deposition in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of victims Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, who were killed June 12, 1994. Simpson was acquitted last fall and gave a deposition in the civil matter in February.

Lawyers for Goldman's family requested that Simpson again be required to give deposition testimony on questions he refused to answer the first time.

The areas include: his relationship with Los Angeles Police Department officers before the murders; his physical condition around the time of the murders; his conduct after he was released from jail; his relationships with battered women's expert Lenore Walker and ex-girlfriend Paula Barbieri; and his efforts to find his ex-wife's and Goldman's killer or killers.

Simpson's attorneys, on the other hand, want to call Goldman's sister, Kim Goldman, back for more deposition testimony. They want to ask her about meetings between her father and plaintiff attorney Daniel Petrocelli.

On Wednesday, Cowlings resumed his deposition testimony.

Both Kardashian and Cowlings have refused to answer many questions, with Kardashian invoking attorney-client privilege and Cowlings asserting his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Yet despite their reluctance to testify, the sessions have provided information that the plaintiffs call helpful to their case.

Petrocelli suggested that the search of the golf bag by two of Simpson's closest friends could imply a consciousness of guilt by Simpson, and also shows that what may have been a critical piece of evidence was contaminated.

``Who knows what was done with it (the bag) in the privacy of these two people?'' Petrocelli said.

Police searched Kardashian's home June 17, 1994, five days after the knife killings, but didn't look inside the golf bag or seize the bag.

A prosecutor at Simpson's criminal trial, Christopher Darden, has theorized that Simpson hid the murder weapon inside the golf bag, which was checked at the airport the night of the killings as Simpson boarded a plane for Chicago.

After Simpson returned from Chicago, he and Kardashian went to the airport to pick up the bag, which was flown to Los Angeles separately, according to trial evidence.

The golf club issue likely will resurface next week.

Attorneys plan to travel to Chicago on Monday to depose Hertz employee Jim Merrill, who arranged to have the clubs flown to Los Angeles.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 16, 1996
Words:550
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