CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

Two years later, Simpson story
still being played out

From Correspondent Charles Feldman

June 12, 1996
Web posted at: 9:00 a.m. EDT

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It began on a warm summer night in Los Angeles, two Junes ago, with the discovery of the gruesome bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Within days, O.J. Simpson was at the center of a macabre wave of drama that quickly reached out and grabbed countless others in its undertow.

As the investigation began, and the football hero and film star was arrested for the Simpson-Goldman murders, a cultural bookmark was made. Lawyers, judges, detectives, friends and family members became household names, thanks to near-saturation media coverage.

Now, two years later, with Simpson's trial a thing of the past, the story of the players' lives continues to play out.

Following the end of his marathon murder trial, Simpson did not fade into obscurity. He told his side of the story in a highly publicized but poorly selling home video. He did carefully chosen television interviews and recently participated in a college debate overseas. And he doesn't seem to mind the curious cameras which capture his golf games.

ron nicole

Victims' families continue to fight

As for the other participants in the Simpson case, their lives have gone in varying directions.


The families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman have joined forces in an effort to get a civil jury to declare that O.J. Simpson was responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. Fred Goldman, the often outspoken father of Ron, said the civil suit is his son's "last opportunity for justice."

The Brown family has established a charitable foundation in Nicole's name, while older sister Denise has traveled the country speaking. But she does not talk about O.J. Simpson; instead, she focuses on spousal abuse and tries to call attention to the issue of domestic violence.

"It's the cycle of violence that people need to understand," Brown said. "It's not just the physical part of domestic violence. There's emotional, there's verbal, there's psychological abuse. There's that one person having to control another human being. That's not acceptable."


Courtroom players cash in

Judge Lance Ito, the beleaguered judge who presided over the courtroom drama, is still on the bench and has tried at least 15 cases since the Simpson trial. But he has yet to allow another TV camera into his courtroom.

Unlike the stoic Judge Ito, the lawyers on both sides of the Simpson case have turned their experiences into a virtual cottage industry, cashing in by speaking out.

Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark was reportedly paid more than $4 million for a book due later this year, but co-counsel Christopher Darden beat her to the bookstores. His emotional tell-all, "In Contempt," hit bookstores a few months ago. It became a bestseller and will perhaps later become a movie.

It is not known whether either lawyer will ever prosecute another case.

Lead defense attorney Johnnie Cochran said the high-profile Simpson case was good for his business but has caused his time to become limited.


"I'm doing a lot of speaking," Cochran said. "I've been to more than 47 cities, many of them two or three times since the verdict. Six different countries, 25 or 26 states."

Not surprisingly, Cochran is writing a book himself. Co-counsel Robert Shapiro already wrote a book, while lawyer F. Lee Bailey had the book thrown at him by a federal judge in an unrelated case. Bailey ended up in jail for several weeks until he paid the government back some money.

Friends follow different paths

Former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman, whom Bailey depicted as a racist, rogue cop, now lives in northern Idaho, where he is training to be an electrician. He's remaining silent while federal investigators look into his past. Those probes have thus far come up empty.

media frenzy

A.C. Cowlings, Simpson's close friend, remains loyal to O.J. Cowlings drove his white Ford Bronco during the infamous slow-speed freeway chase.

But Brian "Kato" Kaelin, Simpson's former houseguest, is not likely to ever be invited back. After the conclusion of the trial, Kaelin publicly said he thinks Simpson probably committed the murders.

"I do believe that he murdered Nicole," Kaelin said in March on Geraldo Rivera's television program.

Kaelin has also tried to cash in on his instant celebrity, trying his hand at radio and showing off for Playgirl magazine.

And then there are the children. Carefully shielded by family members during the trial, the two small children of Simpson and Nicole continue to live with the Brown family. Custody is likely to be an issue should any settlement be reached.

Of course, many others had their lives changed by the Simpson case, from the vast number of actual participants in the trial to the millions of viewers who tuned in to television to watch the proceedings unfold. O.J. Simpson, for better or worse, achieved a fame that far surpasses being a football great or a movie actor. He became an American myth. And myths somehow touch us all.

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