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The O.J. Simpson Trial: What Happened to the Main Figures

Almost 30 years ago, over 100 million people tuned in to watch the live telecast of the verdict in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. The former football star had been charged with the double murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. After a nine-month jury trial, Mr. Simpson was acquitted, though questions about the verdict and the crime never went away.

Here is what happened to the key figures from the trial.

Mr. Bailey was a member of Mr. Simpson’s legal team and had gained fame before that for representing Patricia Hearst and the man suspected of being the Boston Strangler. His cross-examination of Detective Mark Fuhrman was considered a key to Mr. Simpson’s acquittal. After the trial, in 1996, Mr. Bailey was held in contempt in Florida for refusing to surrender fees taken for defending a drug trafficker as well as stock left with him by his imprisoned client.

After 43 days in jail, he surrendered stock worth millions and was released. In 2001, Florida’s Supreme Court disbarred him for misappropriating the stock, and Massachusetts did the same two years later.

In 2016, Mr. Bailey filed for bankruptcy in Maine. Near the end of his life, he ran a business consulting firm out of an apartment above a hair salon owned by his girlfriend. He died in 2021 at 87.

The lead prosecutor, she resigned from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office after the trial and went on to co-write a book on the case, “Without a Doubt,” that was published in 1997. She has also written several crime novels. She lives in California.

A prominent lawyer on the defense team, Mr. Cochran continued to represent high-profile clients. He also formed a national law firm devoted mostly to personal injury cases and wrote two autobiographies. In 2005, he died at 67 of a brain tumor.

Last month, Mr. Darden ran unsuccessfully for judge in Los Angeles County. Among those who backed him was the judge in the Simpson criminal case, Lance Ito, who is now retired.

As a Los Angeles police detective, Mr. Fuhrman was a chief witness against Mr. Simpson. He admitted that he had entered the Simpson home and found a bloody glove that seemed to match one found at the murder scene, as well as other crucial evidence — all without a search warrant. The defense argued, but never proved, that Mr. Fuhrman had planted the second glove.

More damaging, however, was the defense’s attack on his history of racist remarks. Mr. Fuhrman swore that he had not used racist language for a decade. But four witnesses and a taped radio interview played for the jury contradicted him and undermined his credibility. (After the trial, Mr. Fuhrman pleaded no contest to a perjury charge. He was the only person convicted in the case.)

Mr. Fuhrman retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 1995 and wrote a book about the Simpson case, “Murder in Brentwood,” that was published in 1997.

He now works as a forensic and crime expert for Fox News and has written several other books on other cases. According to his Fox News biography, he has also contributed to ABC News, CBS and Court TV.

Mr. Goldman, the father of the slain victim Ronald Goldman, became a more prominent figure at the civil trial of Mr. Simpson. After Mr. Simpson was cleared of criminal charges, Mr. Goldman filed the wrongful-death lawsuit against Mr. Simpson in 1997, joined by the family of Nicole Brown Simpson. The civil suit found that Mr. Simpson was liable for the deaths, and he was ordered to pay more than $30 million in damages to the families.

After the news of Mr. Simpson’s death broke on Thursday, Mr. Goldman told NBC News that it was only a “further reminder of Ron being gone all these years.”

The sister of Ronald Goldman, Ms. Goldman testified during the criminal trial and later wrote several books about her brother’s death and her experience. She has hosted the podcast “Media Circus,” which “takes you behind the headlines of high profile stories,” according to its Instagram page.

The judge who presided over the Simpson trial, he made the decision to allow a television camera in the courtroom for the proceedings, allowing the nation to watch as the case unfolded. He continued working as a judge until he retired in 2015. Mr. Ito lives in Los Angeles. Contacted on Thursday, he declined to comment on the news, citing the fact that the Goldman family still has a “very active” case in terms of collecting the damages. “The canons of ethics that guide the conduct of judges in California prohibit judges from commenting upon matters pending in the court,” he said by email.

Brian Kaelin, known as Kato, who was staying at Mr. Simpson’s guesthouse the night of the murders and was called as a witness during the trial, went on to star in a series of television shows and movies, and in 2019, he participated in “Celebrity Big Brother.”

Today, Mr. Kaelin hosts a podcast about “the world’s most salacious scandals.” He also provides personalized videos, charging $60 apiece, through the video sharing website Cameo.

Mr. Kardashian, a friend of Mr. Simpson, was another lawyer on the defense team. Mr. Simpson stayed at Mr. Kardashian’s home in the days after Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death in 1994. The infamous police chase in a white Ford Bronco began after Mr. Simpson fled Mr. Kardashian’s home.

Mr. Kardashian said in a 1996 ABC interview that he had questioned Mr. Simpson’s innocence: “I have doubts. The blood evidence is the biggest thorn in my side,” he said.

In 2003, he died at 59 from esophageal cancer. Mr. Kardashian’s then wife, now Kris Jenner, and their daughters, Kim, Kourtney and Khloé, went on to gain their own fame with their reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Mr. Shapiro, also on Mr. Simpson’s defense team, still practices law. After the Simpson trial, he represented other high-profile celebrities and is a co-founder of companies including LegalZoom.com and RightCounsel.com, according to his website, and is a partner at the Los Angeles firm Glaser Weil.

Mr. Shapiro has also written two books, “The Search for Justice” and “Misconception.” The father of a son who died from addiction, he also wrote a children’s book on the negative effects of drug use. Mr. Shapiro established the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Awareness in honor of his son.

Corina Knoll contributed reporting.



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