OJ Simpson trial 30 years after killings: Where are key players now?


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The decision to televise O.J. Simpson’s infamous 1995 trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman rocketed the “Dream Team,” his group of star-studded defense attorneys, into household names that continued to represent high-profile clients. 

Thirty years after Brown and Goldman’s deaths on June 12, 1994, here is where Simpson’s team and key legal figures in the case are today.

Johnnie Cochran

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who took over as the head of Simpson’s defense team, famously told jurors “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” suggesting that the bloody gloves that were found at the crime scene were too small to fit the former football star. 

“I’ve got to say I don’t think I’d be home today without Johnnie,” Simpson said after his criminal trial, according to The Seattle Times. “I was innocent, but he believed it.”

Cochran would expand his law firm into 15 states, frequently appeared on television after the 1995 Los Angeles trial and became the inspiration for Jackie Chiles, Kramer’s bombastic lawyer on the hit ’90s sitcom “Seinfeld.”

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Attorney Johnnie Cochran poses for a photo

Attorney Johnnie Cochran poses for a photo on Dec. 1, 1996. (Sion Touhig/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

He would go on to represent Sean “Diddy” Combs – the rapper was acquitted on charges of bribery and stolen weapons in 2002, The Seattle Times reported. He also represented Michael Jackson when he was accused of child molestation in 1993 – that case was settled outside of court, and Jackson’s family consulted Cochran when the pop legend was accused of molesting another child in 2004.

In 2005, Cochran died of brain cancer at 67, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Robert Kardashian

Robert Kardashian, who met O.J. Simpson when the two attended college at the University of Southern California together around 1967, renewed his law license to represent his old friend at trial. Simpson stayed at Kardashian’s home between the time of Brown Simpson and Goldman’s murders and his arrest. Becoming a legal assistant on Simpson’s team exempted Kardashian from being subpoenaed to testify at Simpson’s trial.

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Robert Kardashian, a close friend of O.J. Simpson, is shown during a preliminary hearing following the murders of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman

Robert Kardashian, a close friend of O.J. Simpson, is shown during a preliminary hearing following the murders of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman on July 7, 1994, in Los Angeles. (Lee Celano/WireImage)

When Simpson evaded authorities in an infamous freeway chase in his white Bronco, Kardashian read the accused killer’s rambling message to reporters.

Kardashian died of esophageal cancer in 2003 at age 59 – since, his fame has been eclipsed by his ex-wife Kris and his children Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob, thanks to their reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

Robert Shapiro

Robert Shapiro, the first member and initial chair of Simpson’s defense team, continues to practice law. 

Before Simpson’s trial, Shapiro famously represented brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez, who murdered their parents in 1989. He has also represented Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco and Vince Coleman, The Associated Press reported. 

Shapiro would criticize his fellow “Dream Team” lawyers after Simpson’s trial, saying that Cochran shouldn’t have brought race into the trial and calling F. Lee Bailey a “loose cannon” in his book “The Search for Justice: A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case.

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Robert Shapiro appears in court alongside his client, O.J. Simpson

Robert Shapiro appears in court alongside his client, O.J. Simpson, in Los Angeles, on June 20, 1994. (Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images)

Shapiro has also said he doesn’t believe Simpson was framed by the Los Angeles Police Department, but does believe that Simpson’s verdict was rendered correctly due to reasonable doubt, according to a 2008 interview with USA Today.

In 2005, Shapiro created a foundation that grants college scholarships to 11- to 18-year-olds for staying sober in honor of his 24-year-old son, who died of an overdose. He also penned “Somo Says No,” a children’s book with an anti-drug theme. 

Shapiro is the co-founder of LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle and Rightcounsel.com. Last year, he was recognized as one of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America” by LawDragon.

Barry Scheck

Barry Scheck was the attorney who introduced DNA science to jurors, undermining the prosecution’s forensic evidence by attacking collection methods of evidence at the scene.

Scheck argued that all the DNA from the evidence samples were degraded because swatches were stored in plastic, not paper, bags and then left in an LAPD van without refrigeration for up to seven hours. He argued that those samples were later cross-contaminated with DNA from Brown Simpson and Goldman’s reference vials. 

In 1992, Scheck and fellow defense lawyer Peter Neufeld co-founded the Innocence Project, which uses DNA evidence to exonerate people who are wrongly convicted. By 2020, the project had exonerated 375 wrongfully convicted individuals, according to the initiative’s website.

O.J. Simpson's "Dream Team"

The O.J. Simpson defense lawyers, from left, Barry Scheck, Howard Harris, Shawn Chapman, Carl Douglas, Johnnie Cochran, Robert Blazier, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius (behind Blasier) and Robert Shapiro, hold a press conference following a court session in Los Angeles. (David Sprague/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Scheck served as president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 2004 to 2005. Currently, he is a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, according to the school’s website. 

He is a commissioner on New York’s Forensic Science Review Board, is the first vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and served on the board of the National Commission of Justice’s Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence, according to his profile on the school’s site.

F. Lee Bailey

Francis Lee Bailey, better known as F. Lee Bailey, died in 2021 after a long bout in hospice care with an unspecified illness – he was weeks away from his 88th birthday, The New York Times reported. 

In addition to Simpson’s case, the lawyer known for his courtroom theatrics represented Patricia Hearst, a newspaper heiress who was involved in several armed robberies after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the army commander at the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and other infamous cases.

OJ Simpson not guilty

Murder defendant O.J. Simpson listens to the not guilty verdict with his attorneys F. Lee Bailey, left, and Johnnie Cochran Jr. Simpson was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. (Myung J. Chun/AFP/Getty Images)

Bailey’s license to practice law was revoked in Florida in 2001, and reciprocally in Massachusetts in 2003. He had handled shares in Biochem Pharma owned by his former client, marijuana trafficker Claude Duboc, CBS reported. He transferred a large portion of Duboc’s assets, including stocks valued at $5.9 million, into his own accounts – that money had been earmarked for the forfeiture of assets that Duboc agreed upon in his plea bargain.

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor emeritus, helped get Simpson acquitted and was consulted on the scientific aspects of his murder case. 

Since then, he helped late hedge fund manager and child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein win a lenient sentence in his 2008 trial for repeatedly soliciting sex from teenage girls.

Dershowitz negotiated a controversial non-prosecution agreement on Epstein’s behalf – he would later plead guilty to one state charge of procuring prostitution from a girl under 18 and was sentenced to just 18 months in prison. 

In 2011, Dershowitz served as a consultant on a legal team for Julian Assange, who was facing charges from the U.S. government for distributing classified documents through Wikileaks. Dershowitz was also a consultant in Harvey Weinstein’s trial.

Former-President-Donald-Trump's-Hush-Money-Trial-Continues-In-New-York

Attorney Alan Dershowitz returns from a break during former President Trump’s trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 20, 2024, in New York City. (Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images)

In 2020, Dershowitz joined former President Trump’s legal team when he was tried in front of the Senate on impeachment charges, Fox News Digital previously reported.

Dershowitz currently has two grandchildren in college, according to his author bio on the Harvard law website.

Marcia Clark

Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the trial against Simpson, quit law after the infamous court case, CNN reported. She has appeared frequently as a TV commentator in high-profile trials, and was paid $4 million for her 2006 memoir, “Without a Doubt,” according to The Associated Press. The bestselling author has gone on to write nine legal thrillers, according to her website, and has contributed true crime articles to The Daily Beast.

Prosecutor Marcia Clark appears in court during O.J. Simpson’s murder trial

Prosecutor Marcia Clark appears in court during O.J. Simpson’s murder trial in Los Angeles, on July 6, 1994. (Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images)

Chris Darden

Co-prosecutor Chris Darden was criticized for having Simpson try on bloody leather gloves found at the crime scene in the courtroom without first ensuring they would fit the former football player, giving credence to Cochran’s infamous “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit” slogan. 

Darden also resigned from his job with the district attorney’s office after Simpson’s trial, according to an interview with the Huffington Post, and joined the faculty of the Southwestern University School of Law. 

After the trial, Darden often appeared as a legal commentator on CNBC, CNN, Court TV and NBC. In 1999, Darden started his own firm, Darden and Associates Inc. He was considered for a judgeship by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007, the Metropolitan News Enterprise reported. 

In a 2012 interview with NBC News, the former prosecutor accused Cochran of “manipulating” the infamous gloves, a claim that Dershowitz called “a total fabrication.”

Darden represented Eric Ronald Holder Jr., the man accused of murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle, in 2019, according to CBS Los Angeles. After receiving death threats for representing Holder, he dropped the case after entering a not guilty plea on Holder’s behalf, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Darden also briefly represented Corey Walker, the alleged killer of rapper Pop Smoke, Essence reported.

Prosecutor Christopher Darden appears in court during O.J. Simpson’s murder trial

Prosecutor Christopher Darden appears in court during O.J. Simpson’s murder trial in Los Angeles, California on Dec. 9, 1994. (Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images)

Judge Lance Ito

Judge Lance Ito retired in 2015 after presiding over approximately 500 trials, The Associated Press reported, and is now 73 years old. 

After Simpson’s televised trial, “The Tonight Show” briefly featured a comedy segment called “The Dancing Itos,” where men resembling the judge danced wearing judicial robes. 

Some have called Ito’s decision to televise Simpson’s trial one of the “worst moves in American judicial history,” the Huffington Post reported.

Judge Lance Ito presides over the morning court

Judge Lance Ito presides over a court session in the O.J. Simpson double murder trial. (AFP via Getty Images)

Ito had to remove his name plate from the courtroom because it was repeatedly stolen, NBC News reported

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Ito declined to give interviews after Simpson’s trial, citing ethical guidelines for California trial court judges, according to a profile in the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He has noted that the popularity of the trial surprised him, even through the complex DNA portion of the proceedings. 



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