October 3, 1995
Web posted at: 8:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Few public officials missed an opportunity to comment Tuesday on the Simpson verdict. Most expressed sympathy for the families of the victims and trust in the jury.
"The jury heard the evidence and rendered its verdict," President Clinton said in a handwritten statement. "Our system of justice requires respect for their decision. At this moment our thoughts and prayers should be with the families of the victims of this terrible crime."
White House press secretary Mike McCurry said the president watched the verdict in an anteroom off the Oval Office with some aides, including White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.
The president was somber as he wrote out his reaction in red ink, according to McCurry. He said the president did not seem surprised by the verdict. The president may speak about race relations in the coming days, McCurry said.
In a written statement, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole also endorsed the justice system. "In America, guilt and innocence are determined by an impartial jury of our peers. In this case, a jury of twelve men and women of different backgrounds were able to come together and reach a unanimous verdict.
"This tragic episode has been tortuous for the families of the victims. My thoughts and prayers -- and those of all Americans -- will remain with the families of the victims for many years to come."
Former housing secretary Jack Kemp said the jury's decision should be accepted, regardless of one's personal feelings. "The workings of our system have resulted in a decision which must be trusted," he said.
Kemp said the dominant role race played throughout the trial underscores the ongoing racial strife in the United States. "And while there is still a long way to go, our focus must be on racial reconciliation and healing," he said.
Rep. Bob Dornan, R-California, was less tempered in his reaction. "O.J. is guilty 15 times ... John Cochran is guilty of murder," he said. "He (Simpson) won't do any movies; any producer that employs him, I'll be sure, is painted with a big 'S' for 'Shame' ... O.J. served 16 months for two murders."
And not all were interested in the outcome of the trial. Defense Secretary William Perry told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that he was among the few who did not watch the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial on live television.
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