Nearly 20 years after O.J. Simpson was found “not guilty” of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, there’s still so much about the trial that we don’t know. Now, one of Simpson’s attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, is shedding new light on the case in a memoir, Taking The Stand: My Life In The Law. And the revelations may shock you.
Before joining Simpson’s “Dream Team,” Dershowitz made public statements asserting that evidence pointed to Simpson as the likely killer. He took the case, however, “because Simpson was facing the death penalty, and I have a policy of generally accepting capital cases, he explains.
Ultimately, however, the district attorney made the “surprising” decision not to seek the death penalty, which Dershowitz says could have cost the prosecution a “guilty verdict.”
He writes, “The decision not to ask for the death penalty against O.J. Simpson was especially surprising since prosecutors often seek capital punishment in order to gain a tactical advantage” when the verdict comes down. “This advantage derives,” he explains, “from the fact that in death penalty cases, the prosecutor is entitled to a ‘death qualified jury,’” which means that each member must express no objection to the death penalty, and would be willing to sentence someone to death. According to Dershowitz, “Such jurors, according to jury experts, tend to be pro-prosecution in general and more likely to vote guilty.”
With the death penalty — Dershowitz’s original reason for joining the defense — off the table, he decided to stay on. He writes, “I couldn’t abandon my client.”
“My role in the case was to prepare and argue complex legal motions and to help formulate the scientific or forensic defense,” he explains. I would also argue the appeal in the event of a conviction. Simpson called me his ‘God forbid’ lawyer.”
As such, Simpson generally did not appear in the courtroom, preferring instead to send legal briefs from his office in Cambridge. But he happened to be in the courtroom on the day of the infamous glove stunt. And Dershowitz says what he saw shocked him.
Having Simpson try on the glove found at the murder scene “was about the dumbest polly any prosecutor could have attempted,” Desrhowitz writes, because Prosecutor Darden could have asked for a trial run outside the presence of the jury. “But Darden was not one for legal subtlety,” he writes. “O.J. walked right next to me, tried on the glove, and in the most dramatic moment of the long trial, stood in front of the jury and told them it didn’t fit. He even testified, ‘It’s too small.’”
“Shorly after this dramatic moment, the lunch recess was called, and I went to O.J.’s holding cell behind the courtroom and told him that they might ask him to try on the glove without the latex under-glove he wore during the courtroom experiment,” Dershowitz recalls. “He assured me that it still wouldn’t fit.”
Glove aside, Dershowitz claims that the defense was “able to demonstrate, by means of sophisticated scientific evidence, that the police had planted O.J. Simpson’s blood, along with the blood of his alleged victims, on a sock found in Simpson’s bedroom after the crime.”
“The blood on the sock had high levels of a chemical that is not found in human blood, but is added to vials of blood to prevent it from coagulating,” he writes. “The bloodstains on the sock also proved that the blood had dripped on it from test tubes while the sock was lying flat, rather than splattered on it while it was being worn at the crime scene.”
He insists, “We discovered this before the popular television show Dexter made the public familiar with ‘blood spatter analysis.’”
Before long, it was time for the closing arguments, and Dershowitz says the prosecution, desperate to seal a victory, used every tool at their disposal, no matter how unusual.
Marcia Clark “may not have been the most sophisticated prosecutor I ever encountered, but she certainly was among the most resourceful, he writes. “As Johnnie Cochran was about to make his closing arguments, Marsha Clark went over to him and whispered, ‘When you’re up there, I want you to think of only one thing: I’m not wearing any underwear.’”
Skeptical of Cochran’s claim, Dershowitz says he called Clark himself and she said it was “Absolutely true.”
“I asked, ‘Which part of it was true: that you told him you weren’t any underwear, or that you weren’t, in fact, wearing any underwear?’” he writes. “She replied, ‘That’s one thing you’ll never know.’”
After the trial, Dershowitz still couldn’t escape Simpson’s spectra. He recalls discussing the case with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“‘There’s been something I’ve been meaning to ask you,’” Dershowitz claims Netanyahu said, writing, “I expected him to ask my advice on some critical security issue. He put his arm around me and whispered, ‘So, did O.J. do it?’”
Dershowitz writes, “I was taken aback, but I quickly responded, ‘So, Mr. Prime Minister, does Israel have nuclear weapons?’ Bibi looked at me sternly and said, ‘You know I can’t answer that question.’ I looked back at him and said, ‘Aha!’ Bibi understood and laughed.”
(Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, despite the country’s refusal to acknowledge any nuclear arms program.)
Simpson, currently in prison on charges unrelated to the murder, is planning a comeback as a TV evangelist, according to the National ENQUIRER.