What was the accusation?
In 1995, during the highly publicized O.J. Simpson murder trial, Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman, accused of planting evidence by Simpson’s defense team, testified that he had never uttered racial slurs (specifically the n-word) in the past ten years of his law enforcement career. Defense attorneys produced hard evidence to the contrary, including four witnesses who testified of Fuhrman’s use of the n-word and other derogatory language toward black people. Fuhrman’s negated testimony, painting him as a racist, took center stage in the legal drama that ultimately resulted in Simpson’s shocking acquittal, along with Fuhrman’s own no contest plea to a sole felony count of perjury in 1996. That same year, during his first in-depth media interview, Fuhrman expressed remorse to ABC’s Diane Sawyer for his use of the n-word, defended his character, and called out the media’s “grossly unfair” depiction of him during the trial.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Attack the Accuser, Bolstering
Transcript of Diane Sawyer Interview (Partial)
“I don’t like doing this interview. I don’t like having people pick me out on the street. I don’t like the status–good, bad or indifferent. I don’t like it. I want my private life back, and I’m never going to have it.”
“I had all the tools to do the job, but too much passion and sensitivity inside to understand that I couldn’t go the distance.”
“It’s nobody’s fault about . . . anything [that’s] happened to me except for me. I take full responsibility for my life and my career. I’m not here to point blame at anybody. I’m not even here to clear this slate. I’m just here to say it.”
“There was never a shred, never a hint, never a possibility–not a remote, not a million-, not a billion-to-one possibility–I could have planted anything. Nor would I have a reason to.”
“They say it was because I was a racist. I’m not a racist.”
“I don’t think I intended to lie.”
“I never remembered those tapes. I was trying to do a screenplay. It was a misplaced effort and I did it the wrong way. I’m sorry for that.
“And not because I got caught on tape. Not because somebody that I thought [of] as a friend and a co-worker at this project gave them up. I’m sorry I ever did them because it embarrasses me and I’m ashamed of that. But that doesn’t mean I decided that I was gonna make this homicide an extension of some bizarre conspiracy. That’s ridiculous.”
When asked what he thinks of the “N” word: “It shouldn’t be used. And I’m sorry to be the one to bring it to the forefront in such a grossly insensitive way.”
After being asked what he felt when he first learned of the tapes: “My heart sunk down to my stomach. Because I truly did remember then.”
Sawyer asked if he tried to call the prosecutors, Clark and Darden: “They wouldn’t take my call. They wouldn’t even talk to me.”
When asked if Simpson was acquitted because of him: “No. I was a lamb. I was an excuse. I was a reason the jury latched on to so they could feel good about themselves. They sat down knowing they were never going to convict that man.”
Abrahamson, A. (1996, October 8). Fuhrman grants interview, apologizes for slurs. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/1996-10-08/local/me-54528_1_mark-fuhrman
Seigel, J. (1995, September 6). Simpson jury finally hears Fuhrman’s slurs. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-09-06/news/9509060252_1_detective-mark-fuhrman-racial-epithet-nicole-brown-simpson