This Saturday, October 3rd, marks 20 years since O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. I can hardly believe it’s been that long! Mainly because so many of the details are still so fresh in my mind. I remember watching the white Bronco travel down the 405 freeway with countless police cars in pursuit. I remember the late Robert Kardashian reading what was thought to be a suicide note written by O.J. on the day of the slow-speed Bronco chase. And I’m sure no one can forgot the moment prosecutor Christopher Darden asked O.J. to try on the bloody glove, only to realize that the glove didn’t fit. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” Johnnie Cochran told jurors. And acquit is exactly what they did on October 3, 1995.
I was a prosecutor at the time in Seattle when the verdict came out. And even now, it’s still very clear in my head. A bunch of lawyers around a TV in the lunch area of the office just gasping in shock. I couldn’t believe it! I knew there had been some blunders on the part of the prosecution – including The Glove Stunt. And there were people like Detective Mark Fuhrman, who changed the course of the trial. But still, I don’t think I’d ever realistically considered that O.J. would walk away without a murder conviction.
The whole thing – from murders to acquittal – was such a fascinating event. Which is why I decided to talk with some of the people who were actually involved in the case in some way, from reporters, to a forensic expert, to a defense lawyer. I wanted to hear what people who were on the inside thought about the case.
Here’s who I spoke with on Wiehl of Justice:
- Geraldo Rivera – Currently host of “Geraldo Rivera Reports” on Fox News Channel. Rivera served as host of CNBC’s number-one rated prime time show, “Rivera Live,” where his critically-acclaimed coverage of the O.J. Simpson civil trial verdict set an all-time CNBC ratings record.
- Alan Dershowitz – Acclaimed Harvard Law School professor, lawyer, and author. Professor Dershowitz was part of the so-called “Dream Team” that defended O.J. Simpson. His primary role in the case was to prepare for an appeal just in case the verdict wasn’t in Simpson’s favor.
- Dr. Michael Baden – Dr. Michael Baden is the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City and former chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police. He has investigated more than 3,000 homicides, suicides and drug deaths. Dr. Baden testified for the defense on the injuries sustained by O.J. and on the injuries of Nicole and Ronald.
- Howard Kurtz – Currently serves as host of Fox News Channel’s (FNC) “MediaBuzz.” Kurtz was with The Washington Post during the trial.
- Greg Jarrett – Court TV anchor for the trial. Jarrett was a San Francisco trial attorney before he turned to television in 1985, anchoring the news for ABC and NBC affiliates in Maryland, North Carolina and Kansas. He joined Court TV when it first went on the air in July 1991.
Two decades later, and I still find myself thinking about this case. And even more surprising to me is that I’m finding out new things from the people I interviewed! You don’t want to miss the #WiehlofJustice series on OJ, which can be found here.