What happened to the lawyers in O.J. Simpson's 'trial of the century'?

·4-min read

On this day in 1995, the “trial of the century” was brought to a close as a jury found O.J. Simpson “not guilty” of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. 

More than 150 million people tuned in to watch the jury give its final verdict after an eight month long trial that captured the world’s attention and left viewers divided over its outcomes, and the Brown and Goldman families without justice.

Throughout the trial, the attorneys for both the defence and prosecution became household names.

 O. J. Simpson sits in Superior Court wearing a grey suit
More than 150 million people tuned in to watch the jury give its final verdict. Source: Getty Images

Although they received the on-screen treatment in the 2016 mini-series, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” the real-life stories of the key players in Simpson’s “Dream Team” and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office are just as interesting.

The Prosecution

Marcia Clarke

As the lone female attorney involved in the Simpson trial, Clark faced sexist public scrutiny from both viewers and the media. In 1997, Clark left her job following a two year stress leave after losing the Simpson case, and opted to forego practicing law altogether.

 Clark signed a lucrative book deal for $4.2 million USD and recounted her experience during the Simpson trial in her memoir, “Without A Doubt.”

Clark went on to pen several crime novels and has appeared as an on-air commentator as well as a podcast host.

Christopher Darden

Like Clarke, Darden endured relentless criticism and was even called a race traitor for his role as prosecutor in the Simpson trial. 

Darden resigned from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office following the trial and went on to serve as a legal professor at California State University.

Darden also wrote several legal thrillers before eventually returning to law as a defense attorney in high profile cases for the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle (although he eventually withdrew following threats) and more recently served as defense in the murder of rapper Pop Smoke.

O.J. Simpson (left) and Nicole Brown Simpson (right) smile for a photograph
O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson pose at the premiere of the "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Isult". Source: Getty Images

The Defense

Johnnie Cochran

Following his role as leader of “The Dream Team,” Cochran defended Simpson in his civil court case against Brown and Goldman families (which Simspon lost). The high-profile attorney continued to practice law before his death in 2005 at the age of 67 due to a brain tumour.

Robert Shapiro

Shapiro has continued to practice law and has rarely spoken about his time defending Simpson. In a 2016 interview with Megyn Kelly, Shapiro revealed that he knew all along that the infamous glove wouldn’t fit his client, which prompted Cochran’s memorable line during the trial, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

F. Lee Bailey

Since the Simpson trial, Bailey’s career as an attorney took a downward spiral. Bailey was disbarred from practicing law in the states of Florida and Massachusetts in 2001 and 2003 respectively for mishandling millions of dollars for a convicted drug smuggler back in 1994 and spent six weeks in federal prison for his actions. Bailey died in 2021 at the age of 87, after spending his final years with financial troubles.

Alan Dershowitz

Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, served as the appellate advisor for Simpson during his trial in 1995. Following the trial, Dershowitz was involved in several high-profile cases, including acting as an advisor for Jeffery Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and the first impeachment trial of former U.S. President, Donald Trump.

Robert Kardashian

As one of Simpson’s closest friends, Kardashian reactivated his license to practice law in order to defend the disgraced athlete. Following the trial, Kardashian and Simpson reportedly cut ties. 

Robert Kardashian stands beside a seated O.J. Simpson in a court room
Robert Kardashian reactivated his license to practice law in order to defend the disgraced athlete. Source: Getty Images

According to multiple reports, Kardashian suspected that his former friend and best man at his 1978 wedding to Kris Jenner (formerly Kris Houghten), was guilty of murdering Brown and Goldman.

Kardashian died in 2003 of esophageal cancer at the age of 59. His children, Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Robert, have gone on to become one of the most famous families in the world thanks to their reality shows and subsequent business ventures.

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