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Former O.J. Simpson lawyer, Kardashian, dies

Robert Kardashian
Robert Kardashian

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O.J. Simpson
Crime, Law and Justice

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Robert Kardashian, a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team, has died of cancer, Simpson told CNN Wednesday.

He was 59 and had cancer of the esophagus, the Associated Press reported.

Kardashian died at home Tuesday, another friend said.

"It's shocking when a friend close to you passes," Simpson said. "I loved Bobby."

"We had one disagreement over the years, about a book he did for money," he said. "He explained it to me, I understood it, and we put it aside."

Simpson added, "Bob was there when I needed him most."

When Simpson failed to turn himself in to authorities to face murder charges on June 17, 1994, it was Kardashian who went before TV cameras and read an emotional letter from his long-time friend.

It read in part, "I've had a great life, great friends. Please think of the real O.J. and not this lost person."

Simpson had spent the night at Kardashian's home and was to report to police headquarters the next day to be booked for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, waiter Ron Goldman. Instead, Simpson and friend Al Cowlings hit the road in a white Ford Bronco, leading police on an hours-long, nationally televised, slow-speed chase that ended at Simpson's Brentwood home, where he was taken into custody.

Kardashian stood alongside Simpson and the rest of his attorneys when the "not guilty" verdicts were read October 3, 1995. To some observers, Kardashian appeared to have a look of disbelief on his face. And in later years, Kardashian said he questioned whether Simpson was involved in the two stabbing deaths.

When Kardashian was added to Simpson's defense team, there was speculation that it was so he would not be forced to testify against his friend -- something that would have violated the attorney-client privilege.

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