In 1994 the O.J. Simpson murder trial was hailed as the "Trial of the Century" after the former Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Southern California was tried on national television for the brutal murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, according to Fox News. On this the 20th Anniversary of that trial which attracted a record national television audience, many people give that televised event credit for the spawning of the cable news networks which provide information 24 hours a day.
The bodies of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were found on the morning of June 12, 1994 in front of the Bundy Drive condo in affluent Brentwood, California.
Recently Fox and MSNBC ran twentieth anniversary shows recounting the dramatic trial and providing an update of where the people are now who participated in that historic trial. Robert Kardashian, a close friend of Simpson's at the time and one of his attorneys, has passed away in the ensuing years. However, his daughter Kim Kardashian along with her sisters and mother, have probably made the name more famous than he ever did. Many will never forget the open-mouthed look of astonishment on Kardashian's face when the not guilty verdicts were read out loud on national television.
Johnnie Cochran, Simpson's lead defense attorney, became famous for his phrase "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." Uttered during his memorable closing argument, the sentence referred to the fact Simpson was asked by prosecutor Clarence Darden to try on a pair of gloves found at the crime scene. When the movie actor struggled with putting on the gloves and then shrugged his shoulders as if they didn't fit, many claimed he was doing his best acting job ever. Cochran has since passed away from a brain tumor in 2005.
Daniel Petrocelli, who represented the Goldmans in their later civil suit against Simpson for wrongful death, appeared on the news and disclosed that the jury awarded his clients more than $30 million against the Hertz Rent A Car spokesman. He said on the show his clients actually recovered less than "a seven-figure amount" of that judgment. Goldman's father was quoted as saying that even though Simpson never did prison time for his son's murder, it was worth it to him for a jury to finally declare the former Buffalo Bills running back was responsible for the death of his son.
Ron Goldman was in the wrong place at the wrong time. An aspiring actor with movie star looks, he worked as a waiter at a restaurant where Simpson's wife and her mother frequently dined. On the fateful night of the murder, Goldman found a pair of glasses belonging to Nicole's mother. As a gesture of kindness he returned the glasses to Nicole Brown Simpson that night on the porch in front of her residence. It was to be the last thing he did on the face of this earth.
Someone launched a vicious assault slashing Nicole's throat and stabbing Ron to death. Both bodies were found in a sea of blood on Nicole's porch. Although DNA proved Simpson's blood was at the crime scene and the victims' blood was all over the interior of Simpson's vehicle, the jury decided to ignore the scientific evidence for some reason known only to them and give the celebrity a pass.
During the civil trial though, Petrocelli's team located a photograph of Simpson wearing Bruno Mahli shoes. Evidence proved the murderer was evidently wearing that type of shoes. Simpson had denied during his deposition that he had ever worn such a brand of shoes referring to them as "ugly a--."
The civil jury did take the DNA evidence seriously and found against Simpson and in favor of the Goldmans and Browns. The winning lead attorney Petrocelli is alive and well and still practicing law although he has moved his offices to the more fashionable Brentwood neighborhood where the heinous murder was committed.
Marcia Clarke, who prosecuted the unsuccessful murder case against Simpson, made a ton of cash from her book about the trial. She is now a commentator for one of the cable news channels. Darden went on to become a professor and has a law practice.
Simpson, who infuriated the victims' families by regularly appearing on television on golf courses around the country following his acquittal in LA, is now actually serving a prison sentence for an unrelated crime in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will be eligible for parole soon on his aggravated robbery conviction.
The white Bronco Simpson was shown driving as he evaded police following the 1994 murders, is now owned by an LA businessman. He rents the famous vehicle out to people who want to use it for parties or other events.
Greta van Susteren, who was a commentator for CNN during the Simpson trial, frequently made comments regarding reasonable doubt concerning the guilt of Simpson throughout the trial. Paired with Roger Cossack, who generally made more positive comments concerning the prosecution, she now hosts a show for Fox called "On The Record".
Judge Lance Ito was derided by many of his colleagues for allowing the defense to introduce evidence of Detective Mark Fuhrmann saying the "N word" during a conversation with a screenwriter. Fuhrmann, who collected a bloody glove from the crime scene, and a matching glove from Simpson's estate, has gone on to a successful career writing books. Ito has continued serving as a judge since the trial, although he has announced he will not run for another term in the next election.
Some critics of Ito say his decision to allow the inflammatory evidence of Fuhrmann's comment was largely responsible for the not guilty verdict of the jury. The jury was comprised of nine blacks, two whites and one Hispanic.
Robert Shapiro, another Simpson attorney, has gone on to create Legal Zoom.com. Some reports say he has since expressed regret at playing the "race" card.
While there were several "trials of the century" in the Twentieth Century including the Lindbergh Kidnapping case, the Sam Shepherd murder trials and the Charles Manson murder trial, none probably had the impact on television and the American public as the Simpson murder trial. DNA was only beginning to replace fingerprints as the top forensic evidence used in investigations at the time. While the jury didn't believe in it, the American public does and a majority of those polled in a recent survey have indicated they believe Simpson was guilty of the murder.
Vincent Bugliosi wrote a scathing critique of the prosecutors' performance in the Simpson trial in his bestseller after earlier being the lead prosecutor in the Manson trials while working for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.
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