O.J. Simpson case figures found fame, but not all of it welcomed
The O.J. Simpson case made household names out of many people involved in the saga.
The murder trial was broadcast live for months. After Simpson was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife and her friend, the players in the case went in many directions. Some wrote books. Others appeared on television shows. Some careers were enhanced, others were tarnished.
Twenty years after the slayings, the Associated Press compiled this list of where the Simpson figures are now:
Judge Lance Ito, still on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench, has presided over some 500 trials since the Simpson case made him famous. He long ago took his name plate off his courtroom door because it kept getting stolen. He is not standing for reelection this year and will retire in 2015 with few plans other than to learn to play guitar.
Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles district attorney during the Simpson trial, was reelected to another term in spite of criticism of his handling of the case. He later changed careers, focusing on photography, and traveled the world taking pictures that were published in six books to raise awareness of social needs such as water wells in Africa. He has been consulting director of TV crime dramas “The Closer” and “Major Crimes.” His son, Eric, is mayor of Los Angeles.
Marcia Clark, who prosecuted Simpson unsuccessfully, was paid $4 million for her memoir of the case and wrote a series of mystery novels. She never tried another case and stopped practicing law, though she has appeared as a TV commentator on high-profile trials.
Chris Darden, the co-prosecutor criticized for having Simpson try on the so-called murder gloves, left the district attorney’s office following the trial and became a defense attorney. He wrote a memoir of the trial and has published several mystery novels.
Mark Fuhrman, the detective who said he found a bloody glove at the Simpson home, pleaded no contest and was fined for denying on the stand that he had used “the N-word.” He was host of “The Mark Fuhrman Show” in Spokane, Wash., until it was canceled in 2007 when the station was sold. He’s also a forensic and crime-scene expert for Fox News.
Robert Shapiro, the first member of Simpson’s defense team, launched a foundation to help drug-addicted youngsters after his son, Brent, fatally overdosed in 2005. He was one of the founders of LegalZoom.com, a do-it-yourself document service for people bringing lawsuits.
Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Simpson’s lead attorney who coined the phrase, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” wrote a memoir revealing his rift with Shapiro over control of the defense case. He expanded his law firm to 15 states and was the success story of the team until he was stricken with brain cancer and died in 2005 at 68.
Barry Scheck, the lawyer who introduced the science of DNA to jurors and to the public watching on TV, attacked police methods of evidence collection and demolished the prosecution’s forensic evidence case. He and co-counsel on the Simpson case, Peter Neufeld, founded the Innocence Project that uses DNA evidence to exonerate wrongly convicted prisoners. They have helped overturn hundreds of cases.
F. Lee Bailey, famed for his role in the trials of Dr. Sam Shepard and heiress Patty Hearst, was a part-time member of the “Dream Team” who exposed detective Fuhrman’s racist statements. Bailey later was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for misconduct in handling a client’s case. He continues to seek readmission to the bar and has written a lengthy treatise on why he believes in Simpson’s innocence.
Robert Kardashian, a close friend of Simpson, renewed his lapsed law license to participate in the trial. Simpson stayed at his home after the killings were discovered and Kardashian read to the public a rambling message from Simpson as he was fleeing from police in a white Ford Bronco. Kardashian died at the age of 59 in 2003 from esophageal cancer. His ex-wife, Kris, and his children, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob, became famous after his death with their reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Kato Kaelin, known as America’s most famous house guest, was living on Simpson’s property when he claimed to hear a bump in the night that prosecutors suggested was Simpson returning from the murders. Kaelin tried to extend his moment in the spotlight to show business after the trial and is now involved in promoting a clothing line called “Kato’s Potatoes.”
Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman’s younger sister was 22 when she burst into hysterical sobs when the not-guilty verdict was read. She counsels troubled teens as executive director of the Southern California-based nonprofit the Youth Project and is a speaker at victims’ rights groups. She is the author of two books. Her latest, “Can’t Forgive: My Twenty-Year Battle With O.J. Simpson,” was published last month. Goldman, 42, is divorced and lives in a Southern California suburb with her 10-year-old son.
Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman’s father relentlessly pursued O.J. Simpson through civil courts for more than a decade. Goldman’s family seized Simpson’s Heisman Trophy, the rights to his movies, a book he wrote about the killings and other items to satisfy part of a $33.5-million judgment by a civil court jury that held Simpson liable for the killings. Goldman, a 73-year-old former architect, lives with his wife, Patti, in Arizona, where he works in retail sales. “Can’t afford to retire,” says Goldman, who adds he has put what share of the judgment he’s recovered into the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice that he founded with his wife and daughter.
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