The crime that led to the "Trial of the Century" occurred 20 years ago this week when the bodies of Nicole Brown Simspon, ex-wife of NFL Hall of Fame football player OJ Simpson, and a friend were discovered outside a West LA condominium. Here is a look back at the trial.
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Simpson hired California attorney Robert Shapiro, who assembled the best “Dream Team” of lawyers and forensics experts money could buy. With the trial airing live on TV, all were ready for their close-up.
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The Dream Team went up against two veteran prosecutors – Marcia Clark, whose changing hairstyle became a mini-sideshow, and Chris Darden, whose lack of hair was one of the trial’s few constants.
Judge Lance Ito served as ringmaster of the circus dubbed the Trial of the Century. In addition to having his every word scrutinized and criticized by TV talking heads, he was lampooned on “The Tonight Show.”
LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman discovered the bloody leather glove, a key piece of evidence found at Simpson’s home. As a result, Fuhrman received backlash and was accused of planting the evidence himself. He was later convicted for perjury due to footage of himself repeatedly uttering the n-word. He denied all accusations of this claim. Here, he presents three items found in Simpson's Bronco - a shovel, a large plastic bag, and a towel.
Director of State Forensics Science Laboratory, Dr. Henry Lee, notified the jury of possible shoe imprints found on the jeans of Ron Goldman, identifying a trail of seven blood stains. The defense attempted to prove that the prints came from a second assailant.
FBI shoe print analyst, William Bodziak, explained to jurors his theories on certain blood imprints left at the crime scene. He deduced the imprint was caused by a size 12 Bruno Magli shoe, a shoe that Simpson often wore. Bodziak also compared the prints with a 1993 photo of Simpson wearing the same style shoe.
Department of justice criminalist Renee Montgomery identified specific blood stains on the leather glove. Montgomery explained to the jury the DNA testing procedures she took to form her argument, and made explicit that blood samples of Simpson, Brown, and Goldman were all found on the glove.
Dream Team attorney F. Lee Bailey dared Darden to make Simpson try on the blood-stained gloves in front of the jury. Darden took the bait.
Johnnie Cochran uttered perhaps the most famous phrase in modern American jurisprudence: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit." Cochran was referring to the gloves, implying that the they must fit Simpson perfectly in order for the jury to deem him responsible for the crime.
Simpson struggled to get the gloves on, in what seemed to be the greatest performance of his less-than-distinguished acting career. In addition, the gambit marked a last hurrah for Bailey, once the best known lawyer in America.
New York-based Dream Team recruits Barry Scheck (above) and Peter Neufeld attacked the prosecution’s mountain of DNA evidence.
Nicole's Sister, Denise Brown, wept at the sickening pictures and testimony, which suggested that Simpson beat Nicole.
Simpson's dear friend, Robert Kardashian became a key asset to the trial. Immediately following the murders, Simpson stayed at Kardashian’s home, and left soon after in his famous white Bronco.
Brian "Kato" Kaelin lived in the guesthouse of Simpson's Estate. Reporters say Kaelin was the last person to see Simpson prior to the murder claims made by the prosecution. He is therefore considered a significant witness.
Due to numerous inconsistencies in his story, Kaelin was also classified as an unfavorable, and hostile witness. As a result, his arguments were not taken seriously throughout the trial.
After a nearly nine-month trial, Simpson was acquitted of all charges on Oct. 3, 1995 – a verdict that split the nation, often along racial lines.
Ron Goldman’s father, Fred, and his sister, Kim, were among those crushed by the jury’s verdict. They bitterly mocked Simpson’s empty vow to spend his life pursuing the “real killers.”