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PERSPECTIVES ON THE SIMPSON VERDICTS : PLATFORM : Public Eye

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O.J. Simpson never lied to me. He has told me that he did not commit these horrible crimes and I have no reason not to believe him. It was from that perspective that I came to stand by his side during his trial.

For me, the question was: What would you do for a friend? Would you give up your business, put your personal life on hold and devote a year and ahlaf of your life to a friend? I did, without realizing what an awful journey I was about to take.

Who wants their life and everything they have done for the past 25 years dragged in front of the American public? Within a week, the assault began. I was totally unprepared for the avalanche of reporters, cameras and gawking members of the public that besieged my home and invaded my life. Overnight, I was the subject of hat letters and phone calls at all hours of the day and night. I was threatened; my children were threatened.

Why should reporters and photographers camp outside our homes? Why should the personal life of a private citizen be torn apart just to provide one more meaningless detail to feed the mass hysteria?

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I recognize that the First Amendment protects free speech and freedom of the press. But the recent trend of the press to intrude into the private lives of innocent individuals in the name of “getting the story” demonstrates the dwindling interest in the equally valid constitutional right to privacy. So great is society’s demand for information that we can no longer say that all the news gathered is worthy of airing. Much of it is not.

In such an environment, it’s not hard to see why old family values like trust and friendship are increasingly rare. The price is too high in a society that tears apart anyone who dares to take a public stand in the midst of controversy.


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