September 24, 1995
From "CNN Presents" and Correspondent Art Harris
Everyone remembers when O.J. Simpson was America's most wanted man; (61K AIFF sound or 61K WAV sound) a superstar who bolted before he could be charged with double murder. In court, running from the law can be used to try to prove guilt.
But the jury never saw the Bronco chase played in court. Had the prosecution been able to use it, the defense was ready to counter-attack. "(The defense) would have argued that he was confused, upset over the loss of his wife, thinking about suicide," explained CNN legal analyst Roger Cossack.
What's more, the jury never heard the defense explain why O.J. Simpson had potentially incriminating items in the Bronco -- a fake beard, a passport, and more than $8,000 in cash. Nor did the jury hear what Simpson told police the day after the murders. Sources tell CNN that prosecutors considered using Simpson's police statement to point out that he'd never asked if his ex-wife had suffered. He never asked to call his children.
What comes out in court and what the jury sees depends on legal strategy and rules of evidence. The jury can't watch the news. Yet, millions of people have reached their verdict from watching the press. However the jury rules the debate will go on for years. Might it have gone another way had jurors heard some of the greatest stories never told?
The jury never heard Mark Fuhrman take the Fifth, or any alleged tales Fuhrman told a Hollywood screenwriter about police cover-ups, the code of silence, brutality and racism. When Judge Lance Ito ruled most of what Fuhrman said out of bounds for the jury, Simpson lawyers were quick to spin how they saw it for the cameras. "We're shocked," exclaimed Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran at the post-session press conference.
Once again, he was using television as a weapon of war in the court of public opinion, still accusing Fuhrman of framing Simpson.
"We have now demonstrated this man had motive, he had opportunity, and now he's claimed the Fifth Amendment out of his own mouth," said Cochran.
All over TV and radio, the defense also preached this theory, that hit men for drug dealers killed Nicole Simpson by mistake, because they were looking for her friend, Faye Resnick. Resnick admits she was once hooked on cocaine, but ridicules the defense theory. "They can say whatever they want, and they will in their work. They have been coming after me since the second day after Nicole was murdered, they started making up all of these grotesque lies," she said.(122K AIFF sound or 122K WAV sound)
The defense was desperate to put their drug-hit theory before the jury. But Ito wouldn't let them. He said there was nothing to back it up.
Had Resnick been called, she was threatening to turn the tables on the defense by talking about doing cocaine with O.J. Simpson. The jurors never did hear about his alleged drug use, but the public did.
As CNN reported in April, cocaine was allegedly one sources of conflict in the Simpson's turbulent marriage. One reason drug use was never introduced - experts say it's too prejudicial. To bring that into court, prosecutors would have to link drugs to the murders, and they never did.
Another story the jury never heard -- football star Marcus Allen's alleged affair with Simpson's ex-wife. The defense wanted Allen to tear down the prosecution portrait of Simpson as jealous. Defense attorneys claimed Allen confessed the affair to Simpson and Simpson still let his friend get married at his Rockingham estate.
"Marcus Allen apparently was brought up to show that O.J. does not have a temper, that he was able to forgive his wife for any indiscretion she might have had," Cossack explained.
Allen denied the affair, never did testify, and distanced himself from his old friend. Still, Allen was flashed all over tabloid TV. But the jury never heard that, or other tabloid tales. Like Jill Shively, claiming she saw Simpson driving wildly near Nicole Simpson's house the night of the murders. She was bounced by the prosecution after taking $5,000 from "Hard Copy."
The defense also dismissed a few of its own witnesses, like Rosa Lopez. The public got to know Rosa Lopez, but the jurors never saw her. Lopez first claimed she saw Simpson's Bronco parked at his house around the time prosecutors say Simpson was committing the murders. But her contradictions made headlines, and the defense never called her back.
Another defense witness, Mary Anne Gerchas, advertised as a winner, never made it to the witness stand. "At 10:45, Mary Anne Gerchas sees these four men running from 875 down toward her direction. She believes they're coming after her," said Cochran. Gerchas was bounced after bouncing checks and defrauding a hotel in unrelated cases.
If Cochran failed to deliver key witnesses, Marcia Clark can score points. "Marcia Clark will point out all of the failures of proof that he promised the jury that they were going to have that he never really delivered," Cossack said.
The prosecution will have to live with things it never told the jury, either -- like how Simpson could have smuggled the murder weapon out of town. One theory is that Simpson took the knife to Chicago that night and dumped it there. To test that theory, CNN has learned prosecution investigators snuck a knife with a five-inch blade through an X-ray machine at Los Angeles Airport without getting caught.
Finally, if there were questions jurors wanted O.J. Simpson to answer, they never got that chance. After Simpson was grilled by defense lawyers playing a relentless Clark, he never did take the stand. That was a letdown for anyone who wanted to hear O.J. Simpson explain what he was doing that night when two people were murdered.
Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.