October 3rd marks the 20th anniversary of the murder that sparked one of the biggest and controversial trials dubbed “The Trial of the Century” by the media: The OJ Simpson trial. For those of you who might need a refresher on the controversial outcome, watch the 1995 report on the verdict below.
There were many personalities involved in the trial that spanned 167 days, and the fact that it was one of the first to be televised made its participants national celebrities. But what happened to those involved? Who got a book deal out of this? Where are they now? Well wait no longer…the answers you seek are in the list below.
If you need a refresher before you start reading this, check out our timeline of the whole OJ Simpson case.
1. Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson
“If she hadn’t opened the door with a knife in her hand…she’d still be alive.”
After being found “not guilty” for the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, OJ hasn’t been able to keep himself out of trouble. It’s been a long and winding road to his imprisonment, full of so many different legal entanglements it makes you wonder why he didn’t just stay at home and consider leading the life of an agoraphobe? It all started in September of 1999, the state of California claimed that Simpson owed $1.44 million in past due taxes. In February 2001, he was arrested in Miami for allegedly yanking off the glasses of another driver during a traffic dispute. He was later acquitted of his road rage charges in October of 2001. In 2002, he was arrested again in Miami for speeding through a manatee protection zone with his boat, but his lawyer was able to get the charges dropped and he only had to pay a fine for speeding. Two years later Simpson was sued by DirecTV for using electronic devices to pirate their broadcast. The satellite company won and he was ordered to pay them $25,000 on top of the $33, 678 in legal fees to his team.
In September of 2007, Simpson lead a group of men to Bruce Fromong’s room at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and took sports memorabilia at gunpoint during a “military-style invasion.” Simpson was eventually arrested by the Las Vegas PD and charged with multiple felony accounts which included: criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon. He faced a possible life sentence with parole on the kidnapping charge and mandatory prison time for the armed robbery. On December 5, 2008 he was sentenced to 33 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after nine years. On July 31, 2013 the Nevada Parole Board granted Simpson parole on some of the charges from the armed robbery but he still needs to serve at least four years for the other charges.
Time will only tell what kind of trouble Mr. Simpson will be getting himself into next.
2. The Goldman family
“June 13, 1994 was the worst nightmare of my life…this [October 3, 1995 – the verdict date] is the second.” – Fred Goldman
Not satisfied with the verdict from the murder trial, in 1997 the Goldman family filed for a wrongful death suit (“survivor suit”) as well as settling Brown’s estate against Simpson. The trial took place in Santa Monica presided over by Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki and by his order, wasn’t televised. He even threw out a court artist for drawing jurors “Do you not understand English?” he said. The jury in the civil trial awarded Brown and Simpson’s children $12.6 million as recipients of their mother’s estate. Both Nicole Brown’s family as well as the Goldmans received $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
In 2007 the Goldmans seized control over OJ’s controversial book If I Did It to partially satisfy the civil judgment case. They changed the name of the book to If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer. “It’s sending him a message,” Kim Goldman had told Oprah during an interview. “He put hours putting together this confession about how he killed Ron and Nicole, and he worked hard thinking he was going to make millions off of it. And we snatched it right out from under him.”
In 2013 when OJ was back on trial, the Goldmans once again felt a sense of vulnerability after hearing that Simpson was granted parole on some of the charges stemming from his Las Vegas Incident. The Goldman family has only received less than 1% of the money won in the civil suit so far but continue fighting because not doing so would be as Kim Goldman stated “…letting him off the hook.” Kim published a book this month titled Can’t Forgive: My 20-Year Battle with O.J.Simpson which highlights her story.
3. Johnnie Cochran
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.“
Even before the Simpson trial Cochran was known as a “go-to” lawyer for the rich. So he kept on doing what he had been doing, representing the rich (which included Michael Jackson, Todd Bridges, and Tupac Shakur, among others) but also continuing his successful advocacy against police brutality and for civil rights cases. “The clients I’ve cared about the most are the No Js, the ones who nobody knows,” he once said. One of his higher profile police brutality cases was that of Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant who was assaulted, brutalized, and sodomized with a plunger while in police custody. Cochran won, and Louima was awarded $8.75 million, the largest police settlement in NY Police history. Cochran was a frequent commentator on law-related TV shows as well as hosting his own show, Johnnie Cochran Tonight, on Court TV which he left in 1999 to join The Cochran Firm. In 2001 Cochran represented Sean “P. Diddy” Combs during his trial for bribery and a stolen weapons charge. Cochran won once again as he got P. Diddy’s acquittal.
After the Diddy trial, Cochran decided to retire from criminal cases due to their taxing nature. When it came to his personal life his first wife, Barbara Cochran Berry wrote a memoir during the OJ trial in which she accused Cochran of abuse and infidelity, it was known that Cochran had a second family with his mistress, Patricia Sikora. He met his second wife Dr. Sylvia Dale Mason in 1985 while he was at a conference. In December of 2003 Cochran was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away in his Los Angeles home on March, 29 2005. Sylvia was said to be by his side when he passed. He was 67.
4. Robert Shapiro
“He had too much to live for to honestly want to kill.”
After the Simpson trial Shapiro steered his practice away from criminal defense towards the civil litigation area. He was disgusted with some of the tactics used during the trial, and wanted to steer as far away from them as possible. He once said in an interview with Barbara Walters that “not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.” In civil matters his firm, Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs & Shapiro LLP represents Steve Wynn and Wynn resorts, Eva Longoria, and Diamond Resorts International, among others.
In 1996 he published a book, The Search For Justice: A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case. He has written two other book as well. He is also the co-founder of both LegalZoom as well as Shoedazzle.com. After his son Brent’s death of an MDMA overdose in 2005, Shapiro founded “The Brent Shapiro Foundation” to help raise drug awareness as well as Pickford Lofts, a rehab facility.
5. Robert Kardashian
”I have doubts. The blood evidence is the biggest thorn in my side; that causes me the greatest problems. So I struggle with the blood evidence.”
After the trial Kardashian and Simpson had a falling out over the book and television mini-series American Tragedy, in which he was a collaborating source. Simpson stated that Kardashian violated attorney-client privilege by discussing the case. He had reactivated his legal license to serve on the Simpson trial but left it behind again after it was over. He later came up with the idea to have music play between films and eventually turned that into a company called Movie Tunes.
In his personal life, he married second wife Jan Ashley in 1998, only to divorce a year later. In 2003 he married his third wife Ellen Pearson. On September 30, 2003 he lost his battle to esophageal cancer only eight weeks after his diagnosis. His name is now
infamous synonymous with his four children from his first marriage to Kris Kardashian (Kourtney, Kim, Khole, and Rob Jr.) and their E! reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
6. Marcia Clark
“He wanted to control her and failed. And in failing, found the one way where he could keep her under control where she could never slip out of it again.”
After the trial was over and her makeover was complete, Clark became an author. She was on leave from her job following Simpson’s acquittal and officially tendered her resignation before the release of her first book, which she co-wrote with Theresa Carpenter about the trial, Without A Doubt. She has also made numerous appearances on TV as a “special correspondent” for Entertainment Tonight. She covered high profile cases as well as red carpet reporting. Clark has also weighed in on such high profile trials like the ones of Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman.
7. Christopher Darden
“And he’s using a knife to settle a score. He stabs this woman and she’s right there, one on one.”
After the trial was over Darden left the LA District Attorney’s office and joined the faculty at CSU to teach undergraduate criminal law. He left the law school in 1999 and started his own firm, Darden & Associates, Inc. specializing in civil litigation and criminal defense. In an interview with Oprah in 2006 he stated that he still believed Simpson to be guilty. In September of 2012 he accused Johnnie Cochran of “manipulating” one of the infamous black gloves. He stated during a panel discussion “I think Johnnie tore the lining. There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.’s fingers couldn’t go all the way up into the glove.“
Much like Clark, Darden has made numerous television guest appearances on shows such as Touched By An Angel, Girlfriends, Muppets Tonight and in the movie Liar, Liar. He is also a former guest attorney along with Cochran and Clark for the show Power of Attorney. He has also written four books, among them the New York Times Bestseller In Contempt.
8. Judge Lance Ito
“The American public got to see for themselves every day, all day, how this trial progressed. There’s a lot of value in the public being able to see how the system works.“
After the trial was over, Ito was criticized in the media for failing to keep control over the proceedings. Ito recently held office as an LA Superior Court Judge but on April 17, 2012 LA County enacted steep budget cuts that closed 55 courtrooms, including Ito’s. He regularly teaches at the Judicial College of California and Chapman University School of Law. He declines interviews to talk about the Simpson trial because of the Canons of Ethics which state that judges cannot comment on matters that come before them in the courts. He considered writing a book but in doing so he would have to give up his seat, a move he thinks would dishonor his family.
Because he’s such a high profile judge he often had to deal with people stealing his nameplate from the courthouse, which he replaced many times but eventually decided to just give up.
9. Mark Fuhrman
“Most real good policemen understand that they would just love to take certain people and just take them to the alley and just blow their brains out.“
After being the only person convicted of criminal charges in the Simpson case, Fuhrman retired to Idaho and during 1997 wrote a book about the trial called Murder In Brentwood. In the book he apologizes for his racist remarks, calling them “immature, irresponsible ramblings” made because of a desire to make money. He has also written six other books with topics ranging from the JFK Assassination to the “untold” story of Terri Schiavo’s death.
Fuhrman is also a frequent guest of commentator Sean Hannity on FOX news as well as host of the now defunct radio show, Mark Fuhrman Show on KGA-AM in Spokane.
10. Kato Kaelin
“Never live with someone that won the Heisman.“
After Simpson was acquitted, the National Examiner posted a cover story stating: “Cops Think Kato Did It!” with a picture of him shirtless. Kaelin sued the publisher and in a landmark libel case where a headline can be considered libel, he settled with Globe Communications out of court. Kaelin tried his hand at various reality television
disasters shows as Celebrity Boot Camp, House Guest (get it?), Sunset Tan, and Gimme My Reality Show. Being an avid poker player he appeared in three National Lampoon’s Strip Poker pay-per-view events.
Kaelin has also been a television and radio host, and from 2005-2006 he co-hosted Eye-To-Eye, a daytime court TV show. Most recently he showed up on Tosh.0 in a video titled “Keyboard Kato.” as well as appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher.
Top image: ©AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool, File