The people v OJ Simpson – The evidence



It was dubbed “the trial of the century.” Amidst simmering racial tensions, the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman triggered a national debate about race, celebrity, and crime. The O.J. Simpson trial launched the careers of many famous faces, including the the Kardashian family, Harvey Levin, (who later found celebrity gossip site TMZ) and news anchors like Geraldo Rivera.

The O. J.  murder case (officially the People of the State of California v. Orenthal James ) was a criminal trial held at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, in which former National Football League star and actor O. J. Simpson was tried on two counts of murder for the June 12, 1994, deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and waiter Ronald Lyle Goldman. The trial spanned from the jury’s swearing-in on November 9, 1994, to opening statements on January 24, 1995, to a verdict on October 3, 1995, when Simpson was acquitted. The case has been described as the most publicized criminal trial in American history.

Simpson hired a high-profile defense team, initially led by Robert Shapiro and subsequently led by Johnnie Cochran, and which also included F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Shawn Holley, and Carl E. Douglas, with two more attorneys specializing in DNA evidence: Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. Los Angeles County believed it had a strong prosecution case, but Cochran was able to persuade the jurors that there was reasonable doubt about the DNA evidence (a relatively new form of evidence in trials at the time) – including that the blood-sample evidence had allegedly been mishandled by lab scientists and technicians – and about the circumstances surrounding other court exhibits. Cochran and the defense team also alleged other misconduct by the Los Angeles Police Department. Simpson’s celebrity and the lengthy televised trial riveted national attention on the so-called “trial of the century”. By the end of the criminal trial, national surveys showed dramatic differences in the assessment of Simpson’s guilt or innocence between black and white Americans.

The Brown and Goldman families subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson and on February 4, 1997, the jury found Simpson “responsible” for the two deaths. The families were awarded compensatory and punitive damages totaling $33.5 million.