O.J. Simpson trial | Summary, Lawyers, Judge, Dates, Verdict, & Facts (2024)

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Last Updated: Article History

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Date:
January 24, 1995 - October 3, 1995
Location:
California
Los Angeles
United States
Key People:
O.J. Simpson
Johnnie Cochran
F. Lee Bailey
Alan Dershowitz

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Top Questions

What was the O.J. Simpson trial?

The O.J. Simpson trial was the 1995 criminal trial in which former American football star O.J. Simpson was tried for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson was acquitted. Millions watched the television proceedings of the trial.

Who represented O.J. Simpson during his trial?

The attorneys representing O.J. Simpson in his 1995 murder trial included F. Lee Bailey, Robert Blasier, Shawn Chapman Holley, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, and Robert Kardashian. Johnnie Cochran became the defense team’s lead attorney. The attorneys were known as the “Dream Team.”

When did the jury reach a verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial?

The jury in the O.J. Simpson trial began deliberating on October 2, 1995, and its members reached a verdict in less than four hours. Judge Lance Ito, however, delayed the announcement until the following day. On October 3, Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Was O.J. Simpson tried again after his 1995 criminal trial?

After O.J. Simpson’s 1995 trial, which was a criminal case, the victims’ families sued Simpson for wrongful death. The civil trial began in October 1996. Simpson was found responsible for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, and their families were awarded $33.5 million in damages.

O.J. Simpson trial, criminal trial of former college and professional football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted in 1995 of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. It was one of the most notorious criminal trials in American history.

On the night of June 12, 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife and Goldman were stabbed to death outside her condominium in Los Angeles, and Simpson quickly became the prime suspect. Rather than surrender to police after being notified of impending charges, on June 17 Simpson hid in the back of a sport-utility vehicle driven by his friend A.C. Cowlings. After being told that Simpson had a gun to his own head, law-enforcement officers followed the vehicle at low speeds for more than an hour. The attempted “escape” was televised live nationally—seen by an estimated 95 million viewers—and hundreds of Simpson’s fans lined the streets in support of him. It ended at Simpson’s home in Brentwood, California, where he was placed under arrest and taken into police custody.

Britannica QuizThat ’90s Quiz

Simpson was formally arraigned on July 22, 1994, entering a plea of not guilty. The trial began on January 24, 1995, with Lance Ito as the presiding judge. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office, led by Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, emphasized the domestic violence that had occurred prior to and after the Simpsons’ 1992 divorce as a motive for the murders. The attorneys representing Simpson, known as the “Dream Team,” included F. Lee Bailey, Robert Blasier, Shawn Chapman Holley, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, and Robert Kardashian, the latter of whom was also Simpson’s longtime friend; Johnnie Cochran later became the defense team’s lead attorney. The Simpson defense was based largely on the grounds that evidence had been mishandled and that many members of the Los Angeles police department were racist, particularly Mark Fuhrman, a detective who allegedly found a bloody leather glove at Simpson’s home. The defense team argued that the glove could not have been Simpson’s, because it appeared too small for his hand when he tried it on in the courtroom. In addition to the glove, the defense claimed that other important evidence had been planted by the police to frame Simpson. During the trial, which lasted more than eight months, some 150 witnesses testified, though Simpson did not take the stand.

Many cable television networks devoted long stretches of time to speculation about the case and to public opinion of it. Belief in Simpson’s innocence or guilt was divided largely along racial lines, with a majority of African Americans in support of Simpson and most white Americans believing in his guilt. Millions watched the television proceedings of the trial throughout the day, and the major figures involved in the case became instant celebrities.

On October 2, 1995, the jury finally began deliberating and reached a verdict in less than four hours. Ito, however, delayed the announcement until the following day. On October 3 Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. After the verdict, polls of public opinion continued to break down along racial lines. Whites were largely dismayed by the jury’s decision, whereas the majority of African Americans supported it, seeing Simpson’s acquittal as a victory in a legal system that systematically discriminated against Blacks.

Although Simpson was acquitted in the criminal case, he was also sued by the victims’ families for wrongful death, and the civil trial began in October 1996. Less than four months later, that jury found him responsible for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and awarded their families $33.5 million in damages.

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The Editors of Encyclopaedia BritannicaThis article was most recently revised and updated by Amy McKenna.

O.J. Simpson trial | Summary, Lawyers, Judge, Dates, Verdict, & Facts (2024)
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