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Hot Property column played role in O.J. Simpson trial

Lauren Beale
Hot Property
Hot Property column had a star turn in 1995 when it was entered as an exhibit during the O.J. Simpson trial

Although it was only a minor role, Hot Property had a star turn in 1995 when former professional football player O.J. Simpson stood trial for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

A clipping of the column was entered as an exhibit during the criminal trial, which ended in O.J. Simpson's acquittal.

"Your honor, I'm holding here what appears to be a portion of a newspaper article. May it be marked People's 20?" prosecutor Christopher Darden asked, according to trial transcripts. "It is entitled 'Hot Property: O.J. Simpson buys Laguna Beach home.'"

The clipping had been found in Nicole Brown Simpson's safe deposit box along with photos showing her bruised and swollen face, letters from O.J. Simpson apologizing for a 1989 fight, and other newspaper articles.

Darden argued that Nicole Brown Simpson was leaving a trail. "She is trying to date the photographs for us, and I think that is relevant," he said. "The date that the photographs were taken is relevant.... The newspapers help to establish that."

Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran gave the Hot Property column a figurative ringside seat.

"Your honor, we purport to put it on the board," Cochran said.

"That is the Sunday column from The Times real estate section?" the judge asked.

"Hot Property, yes, your honor," Cochran said.

The article, which had led the column a decade earlier, in 1985, read:

O.J. Simpson and his bride, Nicole, now have a view of the ocean when they get bored with their surroundings in Brentwood.

The former National Football League running back bought a new, three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath house on the ocean front in Laguna Beach.

"He bought it for his wife," E. Swift Torrance of Grubb & Ellis, who represented Simpson, said, "because she is from South Laguna, and she likes it down here." Simpson, 37, was married a few weeks ago.

As an exhibit, however, the clip was soon forgotten in the face of other items produced during the trial, such as the notorious bloody glove.

lauren.beale@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATHotProperty

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