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D'AMATO SAVAGES ITO ON RADIO USING FAKE JAPANESE ACCENT

Published: Wednesday, April 5 1995 12:00 a.m. MDT

In a fake accent that grated on the ears of Japanese-American leaders, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato mocked the O.J. Simpson trial judge on national radio, claiming he was "making a disgrace of the judicial system."

The senator's pidgin performance Tuesday was too much even for syndicated radio host Don Imus, who begged him to stop.But D'Amato, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, plunged ahead, ripping Superior Court Judge Lance Ito - a Japanese-American - for making the Simpson trial seem endless.

"Judge Ito will never let it end," D'Amato said in his fake Japanese accent. "Judge Ito loves the limelight. He is making a disgrace of the judicial system, little Judge Ito. . . . This is a disgrace. Judge Ito with the wet nose. And then he's going to have a hung jury. Judge Ito will keep us from getting televised for the next year."

Imus - who had suggested that D'Amato would lose publicity for his banking committee hearings on Whitewater while the Simpson trial continues - told D'Amato that he "would wind up on the front page of the Daily News again."

He did. He wound up on the front page of New York Newsday, too.

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