Twenty years ago today, many Americans were shocked when a jury acquitted O.J. Simpson of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
Despite two decades having passed, many people still obsess over the case and whether Simpson, a former NFL player, was guilty of stabbing his ex and her friend to death.
The drama of the televised trial unfolded in Americans’ living rooms – including the scene where Simpson tried on a glove that supposedly belonged to the killer. Of course, it didn’t fit.
Many of the star players in the Simpson trial are still trotted out to weigh in on current court cases, including the trial of Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of “culpable homicide” for killing his girlfriend.
Other lawyers involved in the Simpson case have taken strikingly different routes, devoting their lives to helping to exonerate innocent people.
You might not have heard some of these names in a while. Here’s what the stars of the O.J. Simpson trial are up to today.
Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti has found a new calling — photography.
As the district attorney in Los Angeles in 1994, Gil Garcetti captured national attention when his office decided not to pursue the death penalty while prosecuting O.J. Simpson.
When Simpson was acquitted in 1995, people began writing Garcetti’s “political obituaries,” The New York Times noted. But he redeemed himself the next year when his office secured a conviction of Lyle and Erik Menendez, who killed their parents.
These days, Garcetti has pursued a different career: photography. Last year, CNN reported that he had completed eight books of photographic essays and become an opponent of the death penalty.
“My focus is on photography and other things not related to the criminal-justice system or even to the law. I made that career decision when I left, after the voters told me to leave,” he told CNN.
Garcetti does keep some crime drama in his life, though. He has served as a consultant for the TV show “The Closer” and, more recently, “Major Crimes.”
Former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman went on to write true-crime books and serve as a forensic and crime-scene expert for Fox News.
One of the first investigators on the crime scene, Mark Fuhrman later testified that he found the notorious bloody glove, The New York Times reported back in 1995.
These days, Fuhrman serves as a forensic and crime-scene expert for Fox News Channel.
Former prosecutor Marcia Clark now writes legal thrillers.
Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark became a household name during the 1994-1995 trial, which was broadcast into the living rooms of everyday Americans.
By October 1994, a “roving band of reporters” surrounded Clark as she left the courthouse one day, The New York Times reported at the time.
The Times noted that Clark made efforts to change her appearance in an apparent effort to seem more sympathetic to the jury. During the trial, she started sporting “shorter, better-kempt hair that framed her face, warmer and lighter-colored dresses with softer fabrics, more jewelry,” according to The Times.
Clark scored a $4.2 million book deal by the end of the trial. These days, Clark describes herself on her Facebook page as the author of the Rachel Knight series about a district attorney in Los Angeles.
“Writing novels and being in the courtroom – it’s a storytelling job, no matter how you look at it,” Clark told Oprah Winfrey in 2013. “It’s the same thing.”
O.J. Simpson defense lawyer Robert Shapiro turned away from criminal law. He’s now a civil litigator and founder of Legal Zoom.
Robert Shapiro, a defense lawyer for O.J. Simpson, was portrayed unfavorably in Jeffrey Toobin’s book “The Run of His Life: The People v. OJ Simpson.” According to Toobin, Shapiro thought Simpson was guilty from the beginning of the trial.
Shapiro would reportedly tell friends, “Of course he did it,” according to a New York Times review of Toobin’s book.
Since the Simpson trial, Shapiro turned to civil law and represents high-profile corporate clients including Rockstar Energy Drink and Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts Ltd. He’s also a founder of LegalZoom, which helps people create their own legal documents.
Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran died of a brain tumor in 2005.
When O.J. Simpson enlisted him to be one of his main defense attorneys, Johnnie Cochran had already represented some high-profile clients – including the actor Todd Bridges, the rap singer Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Cochran seemed like a natural fit for Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers. Simpson and Cochran had been “casual friends” for years before the trial, according to the LA Times, and Cochran’s law firm was known as a “leading sanctuary for the city’s black citizenry.”
During the trial, Cochran became known as a “fierce” and “flamboyant” advocate who boasted that he caught LAPD detective Mark Furhman lying about using a racial slur, as The New York Times noted.
After the Simpson trial, Cochran appeared on TV frequently, formed a national law firm, and wrote two autobiographies. He died of a brain tumor in 2005.
Robert Kardashian also died of cancer in 2003, and his surviving family got their own TV show four years later.
When he was enlisted to be part of O.J. Simpson’s team, Robert Kardashian had been close friends with the football star for decades, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The two were so close, in fact, that Kardashian and Simpson talked by cellphone as the latter man led police on an infamous slow-speed chase.
“I know O.J. better than anyone on the legal team,” Kardashian said during the trial, according to the LA Times. “There are so many things I know about his personality. My job is really strategy and liaison between the lawyers and O.J.”
After the trial, Kardashian expressed doubts about Simpson’s innocence and apparently ended their friendship by doing so. Kardashian died of esophageal cancer in 2003.
In 2007, his ex-wife and four children became famous for their reality TV series “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”
Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who were both part of the O.J. Simpson defense team, head up the Innocence Project.
Two members of O.J. Simpson’s defense team – Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld – went on to form the Innocence Project, which has used DNA testing to help exonerate hundreds of innocent people.
Last year, Scheck spoke to the Los Angeles Times about some of the lasting consequences of the widely televised “trial of the century.” Here’s what Scheck said in that interview:
The Simpson case first of all did nothing good that I can see for race relations in the United States; it exacerbated what was a continuing problem.
But worse than anything is what it did for coverage of trials. Court TV, when Steve Brill began it, was an extraordinarily serious enterprise. I worked with them in the creation of best practices for legal commentators. There was an effort to professionalize the coverage.
The Simpson case began to wreck all that, when people discovered this was great television, and a great national circus. Now we are in the era of Nancy Grace.
Defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz is a Harvard Law professor who still talks about the O.J. Simpson case.
- REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity
Two decades after O.J. Simpson’s acquittal, “Dream team” member Alan Dershowitz is one of America’s most famous lawyers.
Just last year, he told a sold-out audience at the National Constitution Center that he was initially hired to handle Simpson’s appeal because his lawyers thought he would lose. Then one day, Dershowitz happened to come to court when Simpson tried on the notorious glove that didn’t fit – arguably the most dramatic part of the trial.
This month, a new book from Dershowitz is being published: “Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer.”
Defense attorney F. Lee Bailey is now longer allowed to practice law.
When he was brought onto the O.J. Simpson case, F. Lee Bailey was already famous for representing Patty Hearst – the heiress who came to symbolize Stockholm syndrome.
Unlike other members of Simpson’s defense team, Bailey claimed to be convinced of his client’s innocence years after the trial.
He’s had a somewhat rocky legal career since Simpson’s acquittal.
Bailey was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for allegedly mishandling $6 million worth of stock for a client, the Associated Press reported. He later moved to Maine but was denied a law license there, too. He now has a consulting firm there.
Kato Kaelin is a b-list actor who opines about sports.
During the Simpson trial, Kato Kaelin was perhaps America’s most famous houseguest.
Kaelin, a struggling actor who stayed in Simpson’s guesthouse at one point, became a witness in the case after telling the LAPD he heard a number of thumps on the wall of his room the night of the murder, according to The New York Times.
These days, Kaelin is still a b-list actor. He’s also active on Twitter, hosted a sports show called “Tailgating with Kato,” and, in 2014, launched a loungewear line called Kato Potato (an apparent reference to the couch potato image he got during the Simpson trial).
In 2014, Kaelin indicated that he’d still been in touch with others from the trial and had seen LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman recently. He also said he’s still friends with Geraldo Rivera.
O.J. Simpson is in prison again — and not getting out anytime soon.
While O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1995, he ended up going to prison in 2008 anyway for armed robbery.
Simpson – who was convicted of stealing sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room – recently asked for a new trial on the grounds that he allegedly got terrible legal advice. Last month, Nevada’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal seeking a new trial.
Simpson, now 68, is serving a nine- to 33-year term, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Fred Goldman, the father of the man Simpson allegedly killed, said in 2008 that he was “thrilled” that Simpson was finally being put behind bars, according to the Associated Press.
“It was satisfying seeing him in shackles like he belongs,” Goldman said.