American Crime Story (2016– )
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According to her father, Robert Kardashian, yes.
Robert Kardashian was a long time friend of OJ Simpson. As shown in the pilot episode, OJ went to stay at Robert's house after news of the murders broke. Kardashian had been divorced from his wife Kris since 1991, but they shared joint custody of the children. A few years after the trial, Robert Kardashian had an interview with Barbara Walters where he told her that he had come into his daughter Kim's room to find OJ with a gun, threatening suicide. Kim was about 14 years old at the time and was not staying at the house when this happened. Kardashian told Walters that he did mention his daughter and the psychological toll it would take on them both, in attempting to talk OJ out of killing himself. Edit (Coming Soon)
Yes. It's based on the book "The Run of his Life: the People vs OJ Simpson" by legal reporter Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin had been working for the New Yorker at the time and was sent out to cover the trial. The third episode has a scene where Toobin interviews Robert Shapiro about the defense team's strategy and learns that they will be arguing that systemic racism lead to OJ being falsely arrested. In contrast to the TV show, the real Toobin had already discovered evidence of Mark Fuhrman's racism. He did not learn about it from Shapiro but merely confirmed that the defense team was aware of the racism and was going to use it at trial. Edit (Coming Soon)
The Kardashian children are not featured heavily in the show. They have a cameo in episode one, a short scene in episode two, and a longer scene in episode three.
But the Kardashians were a peripheral part of this story. Their father, Robert, was a central player, being OJ Simpson's best friend and part of the defense team. If you watch footage of the verdict being read, Robert is standing right next to OJ. Fame and the nature of fame is a major theme of the show and the Kardashian children went on to become major celebrities. The producers have said that they decided to include the Kardashians because this trial served as a sort of origin point for the Kardashian fame empire, being one of the first instances of the children experiencing the power and possibilities of fame. Edit (Coming Soon)
Lance Ito's wife was Captain Margaret York, then the highest ranking woman in the LAPD. Because he was married to a cop, Judge Ito had to be careful that he didn't have any conflicts of interest when trying criminal cases like Simpson's. The form listed police officers who had worked the case and may be called as witnesses. York was supposed to confirm that she did not know any of them and that therefore there would be no conflict of interest for her husband in trying the case. She paused because she recognized Mark Fuhrman, the last name on the list. In the 1980s, York had been Fuhrman's direct superior when they both worked in the patrol division.
This became an issue later in the trial when the defense discovered audio tapes of an interview that Fuhrman had given to an aspiring screenwriter named Laura McKinney, several years before. In the tapes, Fuhrman used frequent racial slurs and talked about beating up black people and planting evidence to ensure they were convicted. The racism and illegal activities described on the tapes helped destroy Fuhrman's credibility with the jury, prove he had lied in his testimony, and created perceived doubt about the Simpson evidence Fuhrman had been involved in collecting. On the tapes, Fuhrman also said negative things about Captain York and about women in general. The prosecution actually asked that Ito recuse himself from the case because of this conflict, although they later changed their minds. Edit (Coming Soon)
While Kardashian and OJ both went to USC around the same time, they did not meet on campus. Instead, they met at a party thrown by a mutual friend and hit it off. They became close friends, with OJ serving as godfather to some of Kardashian's children and Kardashian giving OJ office space after he retired from football. Edit (Coming Soon)
Although Kardashian had a law degree he has only practiced law for a few years and had allowed his license to lapse by the time of the Simpson case. Instead, he had made his fortune investing in several businesses. He had cofounded a music industry trade publication which he later sold. He also founded a company which licensed music to movie theaters to play in between films. Edit (Coming Soon)
The opening scene in episode #1.5, 'The Race Card' with Johnnie Cochran being stopped and handcuffed by a motorcycle police officer takes place in 1982. After years in private practice, Johnnie had gone to work for the District Attorney's office, which he ironically saw as a way of giving back to the community. At the time he was the third highest ranking official in the DA's office. He would later leave the DA's office and return to private practice. As Cochran was taking his two young daughters for a drive, he was pulled over by a motorcycle cop and briefly detained despite cooperating with the police officer's orders... with the policeman pointing his loaded revolver at him from inches away, as well as pointing his gun at Cochran's two daughters in the back seat of his car.
The scene exists to help personalize some of Johnnie Cochran's personal hostility towards the LAPD. It is an example of racial profiling, a practice where traffic police officers use stereotypes about an individual's race, rather than suspicious behavior, as the basis for a stop. Studies in the 21st century have shown that while black and white motorists are equally likely to be pulled over for safety violations such as drunk driving or speeding, black motorists are twice as likely as whites to be pulled over for minor violations such as having a tail light out. These stops are often "investigatory stops" where the officer is not actually interested in the violation but is using it as a pretext to stop the car and investigate it and the driver. African Americans, then and to this very day, are disproportionately subjected to these kinds of stops. In particular, many charge that African Americans driving expensive cars (such as the Rolls Royce that Cochran was driving) are often stopped because of racist police assumptions that all African Americans are poor and therefore a black person driving a luxury car must have stolen it. Cochran accuses the officer of doing just this in this episode, as well as in real life. Edit (Coming Soon)
Yes. The man in question was former Black Panther, Lionel (Lon) Cryer, and when the jury was leaving the courtroom after delivering the not-guilty verdict, he gave OJ a black power salute. Cryer didn't just raise his fist, before the verdict was read, Cryer, 44, had smiled and winked at O.J.
Almost preposterously, the prosecutors had inexplicably left Lon on the panel. Cryer's affiliation with the Black Panthers was noteworthy because of the group's history of clashes with police. Prosecutors could have argued during jury selection that he shouldn't be chosen for that reason. But as Jeffrey Toobin writes in 'The Run of His Life', the prosecutors didn't even exercise all twenty of their peremptory challenges. Cryer said in a CNN interview in 2013 that race was not a factor in his decision, and that the prosecution had put on a very weak case. "I had no alternative but to rule for reasonable doubt", he quoted. Edit (Coming Soon)
Brian "Kato" Kaelin was an aspiring actor who lived on OJ's property. He was actually an acquaintance of Nicole's and she was going to allow him to live in a room in her house. However, OJ didn't like the idea of another man living with his ex-wife and instead offered Kaelin the use of the guest house on his property. Kaelin became something of a celebrity because of the trial although his actual evidentiary contributions were minimal. Kaelin testified that on the night of the murder he heard a series of "thumps" from the wall of his quarters which bordered the wall to OJ's compound. The night of the murders Mark Fuhrman found a bloody glove in the area where Kaelin had heard the noise. Prosecutors suggested that the noise was Simpson scaling the wall of his compound in order to sneak back in without being observed by the limo driver waiting at the front gate. Edit (Coming Soon)
According to Marcia Clark, yes. The trial went on a field trip both to Nicole's house, which had remained empty since the murders, and to OJ's house. The defense wanted the jurors to see the murder site because they argued that the space was too small for someone to kill two people without getting blood on themselves, which OJ reportedly did not have the night of the murder. They also wanted the jurors to see OJ's house so as to be impressed with OJ's wealth and success. The defense argued that OJ would never risk all of his worldly success by doing something like murdering his ex-wife.
To make OJ more sympathetic to the mostly African-American jury, and to play up the racial angle which the defense was arguing, they redecorated OJ's house with more African and black inspired art and replaced most of the pictures of his white friends with pictures of black people. Edit (Coming Soon)
It was a protest. In real life, juror Tracy Hampton complained about the behavior of three of the sheriff's deputies who were guarding the jurors, particularly accusing them of inappropriately searching her room. Because of her complaints, Judge Ito had the deputies in question reassigned and new ones brought in. This angered many of the other jurors, who liked the deputies and were satisfied with their performance. As a protest, thirteen out of the eighteen jurors wore black or dark clothing to court. They also refused to continue with the trial until Judge Ito heard a list of grievances which they had, something which caused Ito to shut down the trial for a few days as he met with jurors. Edit (Coming Soon)
The juror in question was Anise Aschenbach. The defense, in doing jury selection, had come up with nicknames for all of the prospective jurors. Aschenbach was originally slated as an alternate but was later moved up to the jury when previous jurors were dismissed. She was nicknamed "The Demon" because, during jury selection, she had claimed to have previously served on a jury where she had convinced eleven other jurors to switch their votes from not guilty to guilty. From the perspective of the defense, this made her one of the worst possible jurors for them to have, since they worried that she might do the same in this case. Thus, they nicknamed her "the Demon". Edit (Coming Soon)
Although the prosecution never found the murder weapon, and there were no eyewitnesses to the murder itself, they did have a lot of forensic evidence, as well as circumstantial witness testimony that seemed to support their version of events.
Among the evidence presented was:
* Hairs belonging to an African-American man were found on Ron Goldman's body.
*Fibers found on the knit cap at the murder scene matched those from the rug of OJ's car. The cap also contained hair from an African-American.
* Small amounts of OJ's blood was found at the crime scene.
*The glove found behind Kato Kaelin's guest house had blood from Ron Goldman, Nicole Brown Simpson, and OJ Simpson on it. The glove found at Simpson's house was the mate for one discovered at the murder scene. Police later discovered that only a few hundred pairs of that make and size of glove had been sold and that Nicole Simpson had bought one of the pairs. After the trial, several photographs of Simpson wearing an identical pair of gloves were discovered.
*The specks of blood found inside OJ's Bronco matched the blood of Ron and Nicole.
*A bloodstain found on a sock in OJ's house matched that of Nicole.
*Bloody shoe prints found at the scene of the crime were determined to have come from a pair of size 12 Bruno Magli shoes. Simpson wore a size twelve and photographs were discovered which showed him wearing a pair of the shoes, of which only about 300 had been made.
*Kato Kaelin testified testified that, the night of the murder, he heard three bangs or thumps from the wall of his guest house which bordered the wall to OJ's compound. In the small space between the two walls, Mark Fuhrman found the bloody glove. The prosecution speculated that the noises Kaelin heard were OJ sneaking back in to his estate.
*Limo driver Allan park, who had been hired to drive Simpson to the airport, testified that when he originally arrived at the estate the white Ford Bronco had not been parked by the curb where the police would later find it. He testified that he waited for some time and had called Simpson's house several times to try to find him. He testified that at about 10:55 PM, shortly after Kaelin heard the noises outside his house, he saw a man of Simpsons height and build walk from the area of the guest house and go into OJ's house. Park said that afterwards, the lights came on in Simpson's house and Simpson answered Park's phone call.
Some additional pieces of evidence were not presented to the jury:
*As shown in the tv show, Jill Shively had been driving her car in Brentwood around the time of the murders. She described how a man in a white Ford Bronco ran an intersection and cut her off. When the man stopped briefly to yell at her she recognized him as OJ Simpson. This helped the prosecution establish a timeline for Simpson's movements that night and contradicted his testimony that he had been at home sleeping at the time of the murders. However, prior to the trial, Shively had sold her story to a tabloid, and the prosecution decided not to call her to testify.
*Ross Cutlery, a knife store, provided receipts showing that Simpson had bought a knife consistent with the murder weapon a few weeks before the murders. The prosecution again chose not to submit this evidence because the employees involved had sold their story to the National Enquirer, thus damaging their credibility.
*After Simpson's arrest, Rosey Grier, a former NFL player and pastor, visited OJ in jail. A jail guard testified that during the visit he heard Simpson yell "I didn't mean to do it!" The evidence was never admitted because Judge Ito ruled it hearsay.
*The prosecution also never admitted evidence from the Bronco chase, which included a passport, money, and a disguise, evidence which they felt showed that Simpson was planning to flee the country. Edit (Coming Soon)
The standards of proof used in criminal and civil trials are different. In a criminal trial, the jury is only supposed to convict if they believe "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the person committed the crime. The jury in the criminal case continued to have doubts due to police mishandling of evidence and Mark Fuhrman's racism. In a civil wrongful death trial the standard of proof is much lower. Those trials use the standard of "preponderance of evidence" meaning that the plaintiffs merely had to prove that it was more likely than not that Simpson had caused the deaths of their loved ones. Edit (Coming Soon)
Yes, but it was well before the context of the trial. The quote comes from sociologist Harry Edwards, who was the founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a group which tried to use athletes to protest racism in the United States and elsewhere. Their most famous achievement was the "black power" salute given by track and field stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos when they received their medals in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic games.
Leading up to the games, Edwards had been approaching black athletes to get them to support the OPHR and its goals. One of the ones he approached was OJ Simpson, who at the time was a star running back at USC. OJ declined to get involved in the project and Edwards said that Simpson had explained his reasoning as "I'm not black, I'm OJ." Edit (Coming Soon)