I’m going to back track on something a little bit. Remember when I said that I felt pretty certain that O.J. was guilty? Well I’m not saying he’s not, but since researching, I’ve found a few things that I just can’t find answers to.
We left off on part one with the end of the Bronco chase. A.C. and O.J. drove back to O.J.’s home at Rockingham, where the police were waiting to arrest him. He was handcuffed in the dark so that no one could witness his perp walk and then taken back to the police station where he was finally booked.
O.J. peacefully surrendered himself to police and was booked on June 17th, 1994. At no point during his arrest or even before his arrest did he ask what happened to Nicole. Even when he was in Chicago and he got the phone call that the mother of his children was dead, he never asked “what happened to her?”
Marcia Clark was the prosecutor and she was kind of known for being bitchy and also kind of unfashionable. She got a lot of shit for her appearance and the public laughed at her and dismissed her at times. That seems like something totally irrelevant, but this entire thing was televised and unfortunately, the entire country was watching and forming these stupid little opinions about Marcia’s hair and shit. Also, the jury just straight up didn’t like Marcia. Marcia thought the case would be an easy win and she had always been pretty successful at talking to women and minorities, so she thought that she could just talk to them and get on their level and they would understand her. That didn’t happen. Surveys showed that most of the female jurors thought Marca Clark was a bitch.
Marcia often seemed grouchy as shit because she was fucking annoyed. Everyone was batting their eyes at O.J. after he just murdered two people. She was actually really annoyed because people at work, like police officers and lawyers, continuously called him “O.J.” As she pointed out, nobody calls Charles Manson “Chuck”. She kept a swear jar but for “O.J.”’s instead of swear words.
O.J. was arraigned on July 2nd, 1994. He pleaded “not guilty” and they scheduled the preliminary hearing for June 30th. The defense had to figure out how to deal with the physical evidence against O.J., which was overwhelming. There was a bloody glove found at the crime scene at Bundy, and the other glove to that pair was also bloody and found on O.J.’s property at Rockingham. These gloves had traces of blood and hair from Nicole and Ron, so whoever wore these gloves had to be the killer. We’ll find out later that O.J.’s DNA is on the gloves too. The defense realized that they couldn’t argue or deny the physical evidence, so instead, they planned to make that evidence seem unreliable. They tried a couple of things to make the evidence unreliable. First, they tried to convince the jury that the police had planted the evidence in order to frame O.J. Simpson. Then they would show that investigators mishandled the evidence. And ultimately, they were able to straight up confuse the jury who simply didn’t have a good understanding of DNA evidence.
The jury ends up having eight women and four men; eight black, one white, one Hispanic and two people of mixed race. Jurors were told that they were going to be sequestered and probably kept for 6 months. So both the defense and the prosecution need to approve the jury selection and after they do that and everybody’s walking out of the room, O.J. takes a look at the jury and says to his team “Guys, if this jury convicts me, maybe I did do it.” The defense sees the diversity of the jury and runs with the idea of turning the case into an issue of racism.
By the way, they allowed cameras in the courtroom, which had never been done before. So when the jury was sequestered, they weren’t allowed to watch any tv or talk to anyone who might tell them what they were learning about O.J. in the media. They also weren’t allowed to talk to each other about the case (outside of designated times when that was part of their duty). Meanwhile, on the outside, everyone in America is watching the trial.
The trial begins and at the very last minute, a new lawyer is added to the prosecution: Chris Darden, a black man. The prosecution was all white a moment ago, so when Darden shows up so suddenly, the black jurors are like “where the hell did this guy come from?” Right away, they begin to distrust the prosecution because they now have the impression that they brought in a black guy just because he’s black.
The defense has this plan to show the jury that Mark Fuhrman is so racist, that he planted evidence and set up O.J. Simpson to take the fall for Nicole’s murder. Proving that Mark Fuhrman was a racist was really, really easy. Fuhrman had at one point sued the LA pension board asking to be relieved as a police officer and receive pension because his mind was so poisoned by hatred of black people. He’s admitting that he’s a racist and he uses excessive force, he’s using the N word left and right. He’s documented as saying “I am too racist to do this job.” He also did an interview with a writer who had recordingS of him saying the N word many, many times, as well as discussing police brutality… enthusiastically.
In the documentaryO.J.: Made in America, Fuhrman describes the night when he was called to the residence after O.J. bashed Nicole’s car with a bat. He describes arriving at the residence and seeing O.J. holding a bat and telling him to put it down. He doesn’t listen, he just stares in rage, like he’s ready to go into battle. Mark tells him a second time and he still doesn’t listen. Finally, Mark says he pulls out his baton and tells him a third time “put the bat down.” Suddenly, O.J.’s whole demeanor changed and there was a sudden calm that came over his face, and then he said “Oh, I’m sorry officer.” Fuhrman says he then asked Nicole if she wanted to make a report , and she said no. And then Fuhrman tells the camera that he recalls feeling displeasure that she was allowing herself to be treated like that, and he told Nicole “it’s your life.”
The defense introduces to the court Mark Fuhrman’s file, and they want to present every single time he used a racial slur. The judge, Judge Ito, has to decide if all of this is going to be admissible. Chris Darden was the one to argue for the prosecution, and he argued that just hearing the N-word was going to blind the jury and make this all about race instead of focusing on the murder and the evidence. He tried to explain that the word carried too much weight. Then, Johnnie Cochran got up to refute this. He’s mad, and he says that Darden’s remarks are demeaning to African-Americans, saying they live with offensive words, looks, and treatment every day of their lives and to say they can’t think clearly in the presence of this word is outrageous and he is ashamed that Darden would become an apologist for Mark Fuhrman. Ultimately, Judge Ito allows it. F. Lee Bailey would cross examine Fuhrman and ask him if he’s ever used the N-word at any time in the previous 10 years. By the way, they’re not saying “n-word” like I am, they’re saying the actual word. Bailey says it multiple times and really fucking stings to hear today. Anyway, Fuhrman says “nope, I have not used that word.” Again, there are recordings of him saying it so we now know that he lied on the stand.
Marcia Clark had a problem here. Mark Fuhrman was the officer who found a bloody glove at O.J.’s home at Rockingham, so she kind of had to question him. If she didn’t, it would look really bad, like maybe he really did plant the evidence. So she’s kind of stuck, she has no choice but to put him on the stand and ask him questions about finding the evidence, even though nobody believes a word he says and she’s aware of that.
In February 1995, the jury was shown the contents of Nicole’s secret safety deposit box. Inside the safety deposit box were diaries and photos documenting the abuse, as well as a will that Nicole had prepared, dated September 30th, 1990. There were also news articles and letters that O.J. had written her that said things like “How did I get so crazy?” and “Let me start by expressing to you how wrong I was for hurting you. There is no acceptable excuse for what I did.”
Darden said “It appears to us what Nicole Brown was doing was leaving a trail for us of what happened in 1989.” These letters were shown in the courtroom on a big screen. The judge didn’t allow news articles to be entered as evidence and jurors weren’t shown the photos right away either.
The defense then questioned Ron Shipp, who was a friend of O.J. and Nicole’s and was a former police officer who had like given trainings for domestic abuse situations. Nicole confided in him about the abuse and then O.J. tried to hire him for his legal team, but he refused because he knows O.J. did it. Ron said, on the stand, that the day after the murders, O.J. confided in him that he had had dreams about killing Nicole. The defense tried to paint Ron Shipp as a starstruck, wannabe friend to O.J. who secretly had feelings for Nicole, but Ron stood by his account. Ron also said that he saw O.J. throughout the week after the murders, and he didn’t seem sad or to show any sense of loss or grief over Nicole. He did say that O.J. seemed angry as he watched the news and saw reports about himself being accused of murdering them, but never sad. During a break in questioning, Shipp turned to O.J. and mouthed to him across the room “tell the truth.” O.J. appeared not to notice and Judge Ito sternly told the jurors to disregard that remark.
On February 12th, 1995, the jurors take a field trip to the crime scene at Bundy and also O.J.’s home at Rockingham. Apparently these kinds of field trips are unusual but not completely unprecedented. But in this case, it would cost thousands of dollars in police overtime and literally halt traffic. The residents of Brentwood were basically forced to quarantine because all the traffic was making it impossible to leave their homes.
The reason they also went to O.J.’s house and not just Nicole’s was because they wanted the jury to consider whether O.J. actually could have time to get home from McDonald’s, go kill two people, and get back home in time for his flight.
The jurors were able to see the area where Nicole and Ron were killed, though the blood had been cleaned up and it was now just covered in police tape. They had traced outlines of the shoe prints for them to observe. Heading inside in groups of four, they then viewed the rooms where Nicole Simpson had drawn herself a candle-lit bath, left a cup of half-eaten ice cream, and put her children to bed before she was killed. Everything was labeled by signs so nobody would have to say a word to the jurors, and they were not allowed to talk to each other either.
There were requests made to hide things like trophies and statues of O.J., and a complaint was made that they should take down the photos of O.J. with his kids and new girlfriend, Paula, saying that it wouldn’t be fair for the jury to see that, but Judge Ito ultimately ignored the complaint.
On duty were hundreds of officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and sheriff’s offices, plus a bomb-sniffing black Labrador, the latest in a long line of dogs to play an active role in the case. Half of the entourage, including three cars flanking the unmarked car carrying Simpson, ferried policemen. Twenty policemen on motorcycles escorted it, while four police helicopters hovered overhead.
On March 29th, O.J.’s limo driver from the night of the murders, Allan Park, was questioned. Remember how O.J.’s flight was at 11:45PM but he didn’t actually leave his house until 11:15? Well the driver, Allan Park, actually arrived at O.J.’s house at 10:22PM and waited there for nearly an hour. He did not see O.J.’s Bronco in front of his house when he got there, nor did he see it 17 minutes later when he tried driving around to another entrance of the house. At about 11PM, Park saw a dark figure walk into the driveway, which he described as someone about 6ft tall and weighing 200lbs, and they appeared to be black.
“THAT IS WHEN I GOT BACK UP AND OUT OF THE CAR AND RANG THE INTERCOM. THIS TIME THERE WAS AN ANSWER, WHICH WAS MR. SIMPSON. HE TOLD ME THAT HE OVERSLEPT AND HE JUST GOT OUT OF THE SHOWER AND HE WOULD BE DOWN IN A MINUTE.”
O.J.’s neighbor testified that he did not see the vehicle when he walked his dog around the Simpson estate between 9:30 and 9:45 pm on June 12. He further testified that on June 13, at around 7am, he noticed the Bronco parked on Rockingham at a weird angle.
Allan Park also saw O.J. carrying a knapsack out of his house, but after they got to the airport and he unloaded his stuff, he didn’t have the knapsack anymore. It’s believed that the knapsack may have contained the murder weapon and his bloody clothes, and that he may have stashed the knapsack into a bigger bag before his flight. The prosecution called a witness who saw O.J. at the airport standing next to a trash can, reach down into his bag and grabbing something before throwing it away and then closing his bag again.
Now let’s talk about that physical evidence for a sec. The evidence is a bloody pair of gloves. One glove was found at the crime scene (Nicole’s house) and the other was found on the Rockingham property by Mark Fuhrman. The gloves had blood from Nicole and Ron, indicating that whoever they belonged to or whoever was wearing them was the killer. We’ll find out later that O.J.’s blood was also on them. There were trails of blood leading from the crime scene, down an alley, and into O.J.’s Bronco. The left glove was the one left at Nicole’s property and it’s believed that during the altercation, Ron Goldman may have grabbed O.J.’s hand and maybe the glove slipped off. And remember, O.J. got a cut on his left hand, so it’s believed that happened during the altercation with Ron after losing the glove.
The defense had a guy on their team named Barry Scheck who was super experienced in working with DNA, which was rare at this time. By 1994, DNA analysis was still pretty new and the common person didn’t really know anything about it. Shows like CSI didn’t start coming out until like 2000, so even when clear evidence was presented, a lot of people didn’t really understand it. It was kind of junk science at this point. Barry Scheck knew how to poke holes in the evidence and made it go from something concrete to something vague.
On April 11th, 1995, the defense brings LAPD criminologist Dennis Fung to the stand. They questioned him about how evidence is collected and what measures are taken to make sure it isn’t tampered with. Scheck was SO DETAILED in his questioning that everyone was getting kind of annoyed. He questioned him for 9 days about every little detail of how he did his job. He was on the stand longer than any other witness. Unfortunately for Fung, he did a number of things that would end up looking questionable. For one, he admitted that when collecting blood from the crime scene, he had missed a couple of drops but then went back later to get them. He also admitted that he did not wear rubber gloves while collecting the evidence, and also that he had to shoo the dog away from the DNA so it’s possible little Kato the Akita contaminated it too.
Fung had said in the past that he personally was the one who collected the leather glove that was left near Ron and Nicole’s bodies. However it’s discovered that Fung was supervising a trainee named Andrea Mazzola, and she was actually the one who collected the gloves and placed them into a bag.
"You did not tell the grand jury that Andrea Mazzola was the one who picked up the hat and picked up the glove?" Mr. Scheck asked. "You did not tell the grand jury about the existence of Andrea Mazzola at all? And the testimony you gave the grand jury was under oath?" Mr. Fung conceded all three points. "It wasn't a conscious decision," he said. "It's just the way I answered the questions." he would later say.
Andrea Mazzola admitted to a few mistakes at the crime scene while collecting evidence including using one swatch to collect blood from three separate spots in the Ford Bronco and occasionally not changing gloves when picking up different pieces of evidence. Then there was a vial of blood that they took from O.J. at the police station, and an officer named Vannatter drove 20 miles and hand delivered it to Fung, which is weird and shows there was an opportunity for police to frame O.J. Vannatter would also be accused of planting the bloody sock in O.J.’s bedroom. There was bloody evidence that was placed into plastic bags, even though Fung acknowledged that bloody evidence was placed into plastic containers and left in a vehicle from 11:30AM to about 6:30PM. This was June in California, so it was a hot day.
Also, at the crime scene, the police took a blue blanket from inside of Nicole’s house and used it to cover her body. Of course, the blanket could’ve had O.J.’s DNA on it which would now contaminate the crime scene. It was also discovered that Ron Goldman’s bloody shirt was placed in a bag while still wet and had developed an odor, so it was definitely not stored properly. The bloody sock from O.J.’s bedroom had a preservative in it and the defense tried to say that it had too much of the preservative.
This is a disaster. I mean, the prosecution is like “there is a trail of blood from their bodies to his car and into his bedroom.” but the police fucked up so bad with the handling of evidence that the defense could imply that who ever the real killer is, their DNA has been wiped clean by the police. Not only are they saying that the police framed O.J., but that their negligence is letting some other killer get away.
At no point does anyone ever ask who *else* the real killer could be, if not O.J. They asked Fung why they didn’t put police tape around the Bronco and he said “it wasn’t necessary, there was nobody around.” Later people would be seen touching the Bronco and photographing it. After 9 days, Fung finally leaves the stand and as he’s exiting the courtroom, he stops and shakes hands with O.J. and his lawyers. At this point the jury is also exiting the courtroom and it’s unclear how many of them saw that.
Earlier, Shapiro had handed out some fortune cookies and said “these are from Hang Fung restaurant.” It was supposed to be a joke, I guess. He would later apologize to Fung about that and it’s possible that Fung shaking hands with O.J.’s team was just a way to say “no hard feelings”. Still, it’s hard to know for sure what that was about.
By April 1995, the jurors are growing impatient and claustrophobic. A couple of the jurors were recused by this point, like Jeannette Harris who lied about whether she had been involved in a domestic violence situation. So they were replaced by alternates but the jury remained mostly people of color. There would be racial tensions among them. Harris said that she was kicked by a white juror and that the deputies treated the white jurors better than everyone else. She said that the jury was divided by race, and also said that the jurors were going against Ito’s instructions by talking to their family and to each other about the case.
They’re not allowed to talk to anyone and they can’t watch TV or have any kind of media that might influence their opinion in this case. The deputies were searching their rooms all the time and they felt violated. Ito had 3 sherriff’s reassigned and the jury was getting fed up. They refused to go to court one day until Judge Ito makes them, and when they finally appear, they’re all dressed in black as a protest. At this point the case is already at risk of a mistrial because the defense and the prosecution are constantly shooting down everything the other says and making objections to argue legal definitions and shit. It’s clear at this point that Judge Ito has completely lost control of his courtroom. So he was like “ok lets take a break for a couple of days” so he could talk to the jurors individually.
After a 4 day hiatus, they resumed with the testimonies. On May 1st, a black juror pleaded with Judge Ito that she couldn’t take it anymore, and he found “good cause” to excuse her from the jury. She was replaced by a Hispanic woman. There are 5 alternates left at this point. The jury now has seven blacks, three whites and two Hispanics. There are nine women and three men.
On May 2nd, a forensic chemist testified that a sample from a bloody trail near the spot where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed was found to be consistent with O.J.'s blood type. Blood and enzyme tests revealed that blood found alongside a trail of bloody shoeprints leading from the murder scene was the same type as O.J.’s blood. Only 0.5% of the population, or one person in 200 have that blood type. Tests on the bloody glove found at the scene as well as on the back gate showed the blood was consistent with Ron’s blood type. And of course there was blood on the front gate that was consistent with Nicole’s blood type.
Ron Goldman’s family filed a lawsuit against O.J. for wrongful death, seeking monetary damages and accused him of “outrageous savagery”.
On May 8th, a molecular biologist and DNA expert took the stand and explained how the testing used was the most accurate in existence at that time. She also explained that if evidence had degraded because of being improperly stored, it wouldn’t turn it into O.J.’s DNA. Cotton also testified that blood that was found on the bottom of Ron Goldman’s shoe was consistent with Nicole’s blood type. Then she said that judging from one of O.J.’s blood samples taken from Nicole’s driveway, his blood had an extremely rare bonding pattern. She said that the odds that blood found at the scene of his wife's murder could have come from anyone but O.J. were about one in 170 million.
Cotton did admit that putting bloodstains in plastic bags and leaving swatches in a locked truck without air conditioning would not be her first choice of procedure. She also suggested that real harm would only be caused if the evidence was treated this way for an extended period of time.
For days and days, Barry Scheck would question all of these scientists and DNA experts and throughout, he tried to prove that DNA testing can be imprecise and that the results are open to interpretation.
On May 19th, what would have been Nicole’s 36th birthday, the prosecution described in gruesome detail their version of how she was killed. They believe that Nicole opened the door expecting Ron, but instead encounters O.J. who immediately subdued her. Then Ron happened to walk up and see what O.J. was doing to Nicole. As he starts to run toward her, O.J. grabbed him from behind with his left hand and likely put the knife at Ron’s throat with his right hand. Ron may have tried to reach for O.J.’s left hand to try and free himself and ripped the glove right off of O.J.’s hand where it fell into some foliage. Assistant district attorney Brian Kelberg insisted that it was necessary for the jury to see the photos of the injuries so that they can see that it was done by someone in rage, like an abusive ex-husband.
Scheck questioned a criminologist named Collin Yamaguchi who admitted that he got a small stain of blood on his glove after having held a vial with O.J. Simpson’s blood. This presented a problem because Yamaguchi failed to record the exact times that he handled each piece of evidence. He also handled O.J.’s glove, but we don’t know if he handled the glove and then the vial, or if he handled the vial first and then transferred that blood onto O.J.’s glove.
More jurors were recused, mainly because they were talking about the case to each other or discussing book deals. With only 2 alternates left and months to go, everyone’s kind of nervous that this could end in a mistrial.
On June 6th, The jury and two remaining alternates heard medical examiner Dr. Sathyavagiswaran offer a detailed description of how Nicole Simpson and Goldman died. He graphically described a photograph that showed Nicole Brown Simpson's face above a gaping neck wound exposing a part of her spinal cord.
He said the photos helped prove the theory that Nicole Brown Simpson was probably knocked unconscious in a struggle before her assailant turned to Ronald Goldman and killed him. As Nicole Simpson lay face down on the ground, the assailant returned to her, yanked her hair to pull her head back, and slit her throat, according to Dr. Sathyavagiswaran's theory, which is based on autopsies. He concluded that Nicole tried to fight back, based on cuts and bruises on her hands. The blow to the head she received not only knocked her out, it bruised her brain, he said. When her neck was slit, he said, she was probably face down because she did not swallow blood through her air pipe. The fatal wound was probably inflicted by a right-handed person using a single-edged knife, he said.
Judge Ito repeatedly told the jury that they were allowed to take a break or excuse themselves if they were uncomfortable looking at any of the crime scene photos. None of them did. On June 8th, the court day ended upbruptly when a 37-year-old black woman who sits in the front row of the jury box, left the courtroom during the testimony of Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran. She had been seated immediately in front of the autopsy photos which showed Goldman's brutally slashed body.
Dr. Sathyavagiswaran testified the killer may have held a knife to Goldman's throat, slicing superficial, parallel wounds, while threatening him. He also testified that it could have taken a man of O.J. Simpson's strength and size less than a minute to inflict the wounds on Goldman. He believed the killer was holding Goldman from behind and sliced a knife lightly across his throat before inflicting a final gash that severed Goldman's jugular vein and damaged his aorta. Goldman's killer, he testified, could have slashed the victim in less than a minute, trapping him in a small gated area of Nicole Brown Simpson's condominium that left him nowhere to run. "If Mr. Goldman was confronted by the assailant in this confined area, he has no place to escape, especially if he is cornered between that railing and the tree and that sapling," the coroner said. "He's stuck there."
As he explains this, he keeps using Brian Kelberg, one of the prosecutors, like as an example. Like when explaining how he believed Nicole was killed, he grabbed Kelberg’s hair and pulled it back and acted out slashing his throat. And then when explaining Ron’s murder, he went up behind him and grabbed him while using a ruler to pretend to slash his throat. Like they’re doing this in the courtroom like “and then he grabbed her like this!” This seriously must have been such a fucking spectacle.
The coroner described more of Ron Goldman’s injuries. He had abrasions on top of bruises on his hands, that appeared to be caused by his hands flailing about and maybe hitting tree branches and the gate. The defense tried to claim that Ron had punched O.J., but the injuries on his hands were not those of a closed fist having hit someone, and O.J. had no bruises on him immediately following the murders.
On the anniversary of the murders, Nicole Brown’s father filed a wrongful death suit, just one day before the statute of limitations would run out, charging that O.J. "planned and prepared to assault, batter and murder Nicole Brown Simpson."
On Dr. Sathyavagiswaran’s seventh day of examination, he described three of the fatal stab wounds to Ronald Goldman: two gashes to the chest that cracked through a rib and punctured Ron’s right lung and a third that hit the aorta, the major artery leading from the heart. There was also a fatal cut across Ron’s neck. He told jurors that after slashing his throat, the killer may have poked him in the face at least four or five times with a knife to see if he was dead.
"They are all superficial punctures, and I have no way of knowing exactly why they were done," the coroner said of the red gashes on the right side of Goldman's face. "It could have been inflicted to check whether he was still alive or not. That would be one conclusion I would draw, also." He admitted that he had no way to know with certainty if the murders were committed by a single person. He concluded that based on Nicole’s stomach contents, she died between 10:00 and 10:30 PM on June 12th, 1994.
O.J. has like no money at this point so the judge allows him to offer autographs from jail for money. He would sign anything, like you could take a Cabbage Patch doll and get it autographed by O.J. Simpson.
The subject of the leather gloves comes back up and the prosecution shows photos and evidence that the gloves belong to O.J. Simpson. They were only like a handful of that specific glove being sold and only at Bloomingdales, and they were able to confirm that Nicole had purchased two of those pairs for O.J. Chris Darden had the bright idea to make O.J. try on the gloves to prove that they’re his. Marcia Clark was like “We’re not having him try the glove on, right? This is a terrible idea, it’s drunk, he’s probably been working out or something to make it his hand too big.” Not to mention that the glove is evidence, so he’d have to wear a latex glove first and then put the actual glove on top of it, and also the glove is covered in blood so it’s like stiff and shrunken, it’s not like a new glove. Darden was like “well I want to have O.J. try on the glove because if we don’t, the defense will.” and Marcia was like “then let them, and then we can show them why it was a bullshit experiment and how the glove’s fit today doesn’t matter, it would never fit anyway.”
F. Lee Bailey basically dares Chris Darden have O.J. try on the glove. To this day, F. Lee Bailey says that he emasculated Chris Darden, and Darden was like “let’s do this”. Johnnie Cochran has a little side bar with the defense team and he’s like “you guys, they’re gonna have O.J. try on the gloves. Nobody react, nobody cheer. This is GREAT for us.”
O.J. was hesitant about trying on the gloves, but his manager, Mike, was like “if you’re worried about he gloves fitting, you should just refrain from taking your arthritis medication and let them swell.” O.J. said “Mike, if I don’t take the medication, my hands will hurt like hell.” and Mike said “Why would they hurt like hell?” and then a light clicked in O.J.
O.J. was originally seated when putting on the first glove. As soon as it was clear that the glove didn’t fit, he stands up and kind of puts on a show. He’s like putting on this terrible performance of like “ope, oh no, guess it doesn’t fit” and like totally overacting. Johnnie Cochran told the jury that if the glove doesn’t fit, O.J. can’t be the killer and they must acquit him. This is where his famous phrase came: “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit.” This spectacle had a huge impact on the jury, and now the prosecution was scrambling to recover from their mistake. Glove designer Richard Rubin testified that leather gloves shrink when exposed to liquid. If severely saturated, they could shrink 15 percent. Rubin tried on the right-handed glove over a latex glove, and though the glove was marked extra-large, Rubin said it had shrunk to "a little bit above average of a large but well below an extra-large." Under cross-examination, Johnnie Cochran informed Rubin that the glove absorbed only three cubic centimeters of blood, which Rubin admitted was not enough to have an effect upon the glove.
On June 19th, An FBI expert testified that the person who killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman wore expensive Italian shoes that are the same size that O.J. Simpson wears– a size 12 pair of $160 Bruno Magli shoes. The exact shoes that left the footprints at Nicole’s house were never recovered and the prosecution had no proof that O.J. owned a pair of these shoes. Though there were two sets of shoe prints leading away from the crime scene, the shoe print expert said there was no evidence of more than one source for the footprints, supporting the state's theory that there was only one killer.
These shoes are extremely rare. Fewer than 300 size 12 pairs were distributed in the United States. Even though there was no proof that O.J. owned such shoes, he did wear a size 12.
On cross-examination, defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey suggested that anyone who could wear size 12 shoes could have left such footprints and that criminals are inclined to wear larger or smaller shoes to mislead investigators. Bodziak,the shoeprint expert, said this was possible but that he had only heard of this type of deception once in his 25-year career. Wearing ill-fitting shoes would also leave a criminal "stumbling all over the place" when fleeing a crime scene, he said.
. On June 21st, O.J. was asked to try on another pair a gloves. This pair was identical to the gloves found at the crime scene, same brand and size, but they were brand new. He also wore these over latex gloves, and they fit perfectly. "I think they fit quite well, declared glove expert witness Richard Rubin. "They appear to fit him snug and tight, pretty much the way the gloves were designed." But during cross-examination, Rubin conceded that he could not say whether the gloves were cut by the same person who cut the bloody gloves, or whether they were a perfect extra large, a snug extra large or an oversized extra large.
Prosecutors also called witnesses to discuss records of phone calls that Simpson made from the cellular phone on June 12, 1994 and the whereabouts of his girlfriend Paula Barbieri. This is so random. The defense was trying to argue that O.J. had a new girlfriend and was happy, and therefore was not obsessed with Nicole. The call records show that on that day, O.J. was calling both Nicole and Paula and the calls weren’t completed, meaning they either went unanswered or there was a busy signal. The problem with the story that O.J. was in a happy relationship with Paula, is that on the day of the murders, Paula had run off to Las Vegas with Michael Bolton.
O.J. called Paula at 10:03PM on the night of the murders, right around the time the murders were committed. O.J. does not have an alibi for this time, he says he was at home either sleeping or chipping golf balls.
On June 13th the testimony was focused on O.J.’s demeanor on his flight to Chicago on the evening of the murders and the following day when he was told about it. A succession of witnesses testified that Simpson was cordial and relaxed on the flight from Los Angeles to Chicago and did not have a cut on his left hand. On the flight home from Chicago, witnesses who either took Simpson to the airport or accompanied him back to Los Angeles, described him as frantic, looking skyward, sighing and moaning frequently. His left finger was either wrapped in a bloody Band-Aid or wrapped in a paper towel, they said.
A Beverly Hills private intern, Huizenga examined Simpson on June 15, 1994, three days after the murders and then again two days later. He said Simpson was suffering from osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, which most likely prevented him from running or doing any other aerobic activity. He testified he also carefully looked for cuts, scratches and bruises on Simpson's body that may have indicated he had a struggle with someone. He said he found no evidence of such wounds.
Huizenga said O.J. had constant pain from surgery on his left wrist following a football injury in 1965. O.J. also had developed large knuckles typical of osteoarthritis, and he suffered from osteoarthritis in his left knee. But in a blow to the defense, Huizenga conceded under cross-examination that despite Simpson's arthritic condition, he was strong enough to kill two people in the manner suggested by the prosecution. At the end of the day, jurors were shown portions of an exercise video featuring O.J. performing various exercises. The video was taped May 24 to May 27, 1994, just two-and-a-half weeks before the murders.
On July 18th, jurors were shown another commercial exercise video that was also made just a few weeks before Nicole’s murder. During the video workout, filmed May 26, 1994, O.J. could be seen shadow boxing, throwing jabs and uppercuts. "Get your space in if you're exercising with your wife, if you know what I mean," he said, adding with a smile, "You can always blame it on working out."
A second video was presented of a promotional speech Simpson gave in March 1994. In the video, O.J. talks of a vitamin supplement called Juice Plus, saying the product had so relieved his arthritis symptoms that he had quit taking conventional medication and pain relievers.
In August, the focus shifts back to Mark Fuhrman. During cross examination, Fuhrman denied having used the N-word in the previous 10 years. But the defense located a recorded interview Fuhrman did with a writer where he talks about "framing people, setting people up and filing false reports." They plan to show that 1. He’s a racist, corrupt cop; and 2. He lied on the stand when he said he hadn’t used the N-word, effectively perjuring himself.
Here’s the kicker that nobody fucking expected. As the defense and the prosecution are both listening to the tapes, they come across something alarming. In the interviews, Fuhrman complained about a high ranking female police officer named Peggy York who was his supervising commander.
According to Marcia Clark’s book, Without a Doubt:
“Mark had described two run-ins with [York], including one during which she upbraided the squad for writing ‘KKK’ on the calendar entry for Martin Luther King [Jr.] Day. Mark had snickered, and when she called him on it in private, he claimed, he belittled her to her face. In another dustup, he refused an assignment from her, supposedly saying, ‘I don’t talk to anybody that [sic] isn’t a policeman, and you’re as far from a policeman as I’ve seen—and as far as that goes, you’re about as far from a woman as I’ve seen.’”
He also said that she "sucked" and "fucked her way to the top". About women in general, he said “I won't eat with them, I won't have coffee with them, I won't be seen with them. It's embarrassing. Where does some woman five feet tall and 98 pounds get off coming out? I can bench press almost four times what she weighs.”
Here’s the kicker: Peggy York is the wife of Judge Lance Ito. This is a huge conflict of interest. If he allows the tapes to be heard in court, he could be perceived as doing so to punish Fuhrman. If he does not allow them in, he could be seen as doing so to avoid the embarrassment of issues regarding his wife coming before the jury.
Ito decided to take a step back, admitting that he can’t make the decision about whether it’s fair for him to preside over this case. So they have another judge make the call and ultimately it’s decided that Ito can continue to preside over the case, but the tapes would not be admissible except for 2 hours out of the 13 hours of recording.
The ruling: http://walraven.org/simpson/fhr_tps2.html
So they move on and continue with trying to prove that Mark Fuhrman is a liar as he absolutely has said the N-word in the past ten years. In fact, he said it 41 times in the recording and also recounted numerous episodes of police harassing black suspects, contriving evidence against them and acknowledging he participated in such activities himself.
"Do you people, don't you shoot to wound them? No, we shoot to kill em. Now the department says we shoot to stop, not kill, which is horseshit. The only way we can stop somebody is to kill the son of a bitch. And what's the big deal? If you've got reason to shoot somebody, you've got reason to kill him."
"No, if I would have arrested the son of a bitch, I would have killed him. If I ever see the son of a bitch and we're alone, I would kill him...If there's nobody except him and me, dead men tell no tales. See, he killed two policemen. I have an obligation if I ever have the opportunity, I should kill him. And that's all there is to it."
"I didn't arrest him under anything, just took him to the station, ran him for prints, gave them to the detectives to compare with what they've got in the area. I'll probably arrest a criminal that way...I'd be able to correlate exactly what I said into a reasonable probable cause for arrest."
Even though there’s no evidence that Fuhrman planted O.J.’s bloody glove at the crime scene, the fact that he’s admittedly planted evidence in the past means that the defense could move to have all evidence found by Fuhrman to be thrown out.
By now, Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown’s families are pissed because the entire focus has shifted to whether or not Mark Fuhrman is racist. And this is not a trial against Mark Fuhrman, this is about the murders of Nicole and Ron. During an emotional press conference, Fred Goldman said the tapes had no business at the trial which is supposed to determine whether O.J. Simpson killed his son and Nicole Brown Simpson.
"There was no reason to have two hours of this hate to be spewed out over the public airwaves," Goldman said. "My son, Nicole and her family have a right to a fair trial and this is not fair." Marcia Clark said “this is a murder case where none of this is relevant. The admission of this evidence (the tapes) is telling the jury: 'Disregard the case. Look somewhere else,'" she said. Even if the bloody glove gets thrown out, there’s still so much DNA evidence at the crime scene, in the Bronco, and leading up to O.J.’s house. Marcia also said that if he had the opportunity to plant anything, he would have been foolish to try, not knowing whether there were eyewitnesses to the crime or whether Simpson had an alibi. And she’s right; how could Fuhrman possibly know for sure that O.J. would not have an alibi? He’s super fucking famous, he easily could have been at a party or clubbing or at an awards show or something. How could anyone know for sure that O.J. would have no plans and just be sitting at home?
But the defense continued with their plan and started bringing in witnesses to testify to Fuhrman’s racism. A woman named Kathleen Bell met Mark at a Marine recruiting center. At one point, Fuhrman told Bell that when he sees a black man driving with a white woman he pulls over the car. Bell said she asked him if he needed a reason. "He said he'd find something. I asked what if they're in love? He said, 'That's disgusting.'" she testified.
In the same conversation, she testified that Fuhrman said, "If I had my way, I'd gather all the niggers together and burn them." Bell said she called the LAPD to report Fuhrman, but could only recall his first name. She said she did not ask for his last name before because she was scared of him.
A second witness, Natalie Singer, testified that Fuhrman's partner dated her roommate in 1987, and the officers were frequent guests in her home. She quoted Fuhrman as saying, "The only good nigger is a dead nigger." At a later date, she kicked Fuhrman out of the house for calling her a "fucking bitch." She next saw him several years later testifying against Simpson, prompting her to call the defense.
On September 6th, Mark Fuhrman was brought back to the witness stand. He’s asked “was the testimony that you gave in this case completely truthful?” He replies “I wish to assert my fifth amendment privilege.”
Then he’s asked “Have you ever falsified a police report?” He replies “I wish to assert my fifth amendment privilege.”
“Is it your intention to assert your fifth amendment privilege with respect to each question I ask you?” He replies “yes.”
“I only have one other question. Detective Fuhrman, did you plant or manufacture any evidence in this case.” He replies “I wish to assert my fifth amendment privilege.”
On September 11th, the prosecution began presenting its rebuttal case even though the defense has not finished its case. The first rebuttal witness was a photographer who took a picture of O.J. Simpson in 1990 during a Chicago Bears football game. In that photograph, Simpson is wearing dark gloves that the state contends are the same as the gloves found at the murder scene and at Simpson's home after the murders. The defense requested that the jury be instructed to forget the glove had ever been found, which Ito denied.
On the 13th, prosecutors failed to show up for an early hearing and the judge fined them $250. Clark complained because defense attorneys had shown up late to other hearings without a fine. Judge Ito increased the fine to $1,000. Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti berated Judge Ito at a press conference, calling his conduct "outrageous, petty and uncalled for." Garcetti said his office would not pay the fine and sent another lawyer to court to appeal it. Judge Ito backed down and reinstated the original $250 penalty.
On September 21st, the jury is informed that they can consider first-degree or second-degree charges. The difference is really whether or not the murders were premeditated. Ron Goldman’s murder was almost certainly not premeditated, as O.J. had no way of knowing he would be at Nicole’s house. But Nicole’s may have been premeditated, so he can either be charged for a first-degree and a second-degree murder and automatically face a life sentence without parole, or if he’s convicted of two second-degree murders, the sentence includes the possibility of parole.
"I did not, could not and would not have committed this crime," O.J. Simpson told the court outside the presence of the jury.
Despite objections from prosecutor Marcia Clark, Judge Ito asked Simpson to make a routine waiver of his right to testify. Clark had wanted Simpson to put the waiver in writing to stop him from making an emotional plea that might be leaked to the jurors through conjugal visits and phone calls.
"Much as I would like to address some of the misrepresentations made about myself, and my . . . and Nicole, concerning our life together," Simpson said in open court, "I am mindful of the mood and the stamina of this jury. I have confidence, a lot more it seems than Miss Clark has, of their integrity… and that they will find as the record stands now that I did not, could not and would not have committed this crime. I have four kids -- two kids I haven't seen in a year. They ask me every week, 'Dad, how much longer?' I want this trial over."
Fred Goldman, the father of murder victim Ronald Goldman, said "It is disgusting what he [Simpson] did. It is disgusting that his Dream Team — Scheme Team maybe is more accurate — would come here and stand in front of you and tell you it was his right to make a statement to the court. It is disgusting to me that the judge tolerated it." O.J. said he "could not, would not, did not commit these crimes."
On September 26th, Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark began her closing arguments with a preemptive strike against police detective Mark Fuhrman before taking aim at O.J. Simpson. "It would be a tragedy if, with such overwhelming evidence, you find the defendant not guilty because of the racist attitudes of one officer." Clark took jurors through the evening of the murders, showing O.J. was unaccounted for between 9:36pm and 10:54 and that he left a trail of evidence from the murder scene to his home. Darden, who argued for a little more than an hour, focused on O.J.’s history of abusing his wife to prove he had motive to kill her. Darden also brought up Fuhrman, telling the jury not to lose focus on the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
In closing arguments, Johnnie Cochran reiterated to the jury that “if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Darden repeatedly described Simpson as a time bomb with a burning fuse, growing increasingly closer to a full explosion. Cochran tried to reduce the impact of accounts of O.J.’s domestic violence by describing him as imperfect, "not proud of some of the things he did. But [these things] don't add up to murder."
Darden suggested that only O.J. could’ve had motive to kill Nicole and Ron. Cochran suggested that professional killers could have been after Ronald Goldman on the night of the killings. se lawyer Barry Scheck to discuss the DNA evidence, Cochran asked the jurors why, if Simpson was rushing back from a bloody crime scene, there was no blood found on the door knobs, banister or white carpets at Simpson's Estate.
Barry Scheck gets up and explains to the jury that the DNA evidence is unreliable. He says that since the evidence was handled and stored improperly and there are enough questions surrounding the evidence for reasonable doubt. Marcia Clark didn’t see it that way.
"I don't have to say anything else," Clark said. "Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the people of the state of California, because we have proven beyond a reasonable doubt, far beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed these murders, we ask you to find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown."
Darden ridiculed Simpson's alibi. "Chippin' golf balls. There were golf balls in that little black bag?" he said mockingly. "That was the night he was supposedly suffering from acute arthritis," Darden said. "They want you to throw your common sense out the window, just chuck it out the window. You can't do that," he said. "They have one racist cop."
On October 2nd, the jury shocked everyone when they reached a verdict after deliberating for less than 4 hours. Legal analysts predicted it would take anywhere between 2 days and 2 months. Earlier in the day, they had requested to hear again the testimony of Allan Park, the limo driver. It seems that what they were looking at was whether or not O.J. had enough time to go commit the murders and run back home in the short time for which he had no alibi. O.J.’s home was only a 5 minute drive from Nicole’s.
Park said he arrived at Simpson's house at 10:22 pm the night of the murders and didn't see Simpson's Bronco parked outside when he was searching the curb for street numbers. He testified that at 10:55 pm he saw a large, shadowy figure of a black person at the front door of Simpson's Rockingham estate. By now, Park had been sounding the intercom for about 15 minutes. Moments later, Simpson answered the intercom and said that he had overslept.
The verdict is announced. Not Guilty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rurKd569xRw
You can hear Ron Goldman’s family sobbing in the background as the verdict was read. Marcia Clark and Chris Darden look like they’re going to cry too. I’ll upload a clip of this to brokenlimelight.com.
O.J. Simpson was now a free man. He went back to his home at Rockingham where his family and friend were preparing a party for him. The LAPD had to send police units to the home for crowd control. This must have been infuriating because O.J. used to be friends with the police and his legal team just spent the last year making complete fools out of the department. They mocked and humiliated them and told the entire world that the LAPD was incompetent. Now O.J.’s free and the police have to go to his house to keep him safe while he celebrates.
Detective Paul Bishop said “Way back in the beginning, I said to Detective Ron Phillips, ‘Are we going to win this case?’ Ron said, ‘If we can’t convict this guy, we may as well turn in our badges and go home.’ After the verdict, I walked up to Ron and said, ‘You’re right. We may as well turn in our badges.’ The next two days you couldn’t get through on the phone lines to personnel, because there were so many police and detectives trying to get their paperwork and retire. The ripple effect is going to be unbelievable.”
All of O.J.’s friends were at the party, like Al Cowlings and Rob Kardashian. It wasn’t long before they all realized that the rest of the world wasn’t celebrating with them. Poll showed that more than half of the country was outraged by the verdict. His personal agent dropped him as a client and his pay-per-view deal collapsed. The country clubs don’t want him back. Everyone thinks he’s a murderer. Someone put up signs on Sunset Blvd at the entrance of Brentwood that said WELCOME TO BRENTWOOD. HOME OF THE BRENTWOOD BUTCHER. And MURDERER LOOSE IN BRENTWOOD. When the district attorney announced they were closing the case and no longer looking for the “real” killers of Ron and Nicole, O.J. was livid. O.J. had his son, Jason, read a statement from him saying that he would make it a priority in his life to find the real killer or killers. Jason looked really awkward, kind of hiding his face like he was embarrassed to be reading those words out loud.
There was one juror who was excused from the jury early on and it seems like the defense was eager about it. Her name was Francine Florio-Bunten and she was recused after Judge Ito received a anonymous letter saying that Francine was taking a book deal.
O.J. wasn’t all in the clear yet, he still had to face the wrongful death suits filed against him by the families of Ron and Nicole. In February of 1997, the jury for the civil case found O.J. liable of the deaths of Nicole and Ron and made him pay $33.5 million in punitive damages.
Let me explain the difference between a criminal trial and a civil trial.
A major factor that we used to differentiate between criminal and civil law is the parties involved. In criminal law, the parties are the defendant (the person accused of committing a crime) and the state or federal government. The government is more involved in this type of law because the defendant has broken a crime that was established by the government, such as murder or theft. However, civil law is more private; it deals with disputes between individuals and entities including defamation, divorce, and negligence. This distinction can be seen in O.J. Simpson’s trials as in his criminal case, he was prosecuted for murder by the People of the State of California, while the Goldman family chose to press charges on him in his civil case.
The sanctions, or punishments, are also different. In criminal cases, the punishment can be things like community service or the death penalty, whereas in civil trials, the punishment is more often paying monetary damages or a restraining order.
Finally, and most importantly, is the way they look at evidence. In criminal cases there is the burden of proof, meaning the defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to charge him. In the criminal trial, the jury did not believe that O.J. was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because of all the doubts surrounding the evidence and the reliability of the LAPD. Not to mention that the glove didn’t fit. In a civil trial, there is the preponderance of evidence, meaning they have to lean more towards him being guilty than not guilty. And I literally mean, lean. Like, they can’t be 50/50 but they can be 51/49 leaning in the direction that he looks more guilty than not guilty and that’s enough to charge him. So in the civil trial, there was more than enough evidence for them to consider him liable.
Now, O.J. didn’t have all the money he was being ordered to pay so he ended up losing his house, he got his Heisman trophy taken away, he lost his book deal for If I Did It but then the court awarded the rights to the Goldman family, who renamed it If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer and they intentionally made the word “if” really small on the cover and placed it inside of the word “I”; so when you look at it it looks like it just says “I did it: Confessions of a killer.”
And by the way, O.J. didn’t actually write that book. A ghost writer did and paid O.J. to put his name on it. O.J. was pretty much like “well I need the money and everyone hates me anyway” so he agreed.
That’s where we’re going to leave off for part 2. In part 3 we’ll talk about what happened to O.J. after the civil case, like his kidnapping and robbery charges from 2007, and we’ll also discuss the possible theories and look into what O.J. and his attorneys have had to say since the criminal trial.