O.j. Simpson And The Court Of Public Opinion

January 19, 1995|By Jean Marbella | Jean Marbella,Sun Staff Writer

All rise, or at least turn on your television sets: People of the State of California vs. Orenthal James Simpson will now come to order.

Mr. Simpson's long-delayed trial on charges of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman is scheduled to begin today. But the case has been under way for months in the court of public opinion, that highly irregular place where rumors and outright falsehoods can carry as much weight as actual exhibits and testimony in a real courtroom.

Which is why Mr. Simpson's fortune has waxed and waned over these past seven months, depending on the revelation du jour by the hundreds of reporters chasing every possible angle. Everything from changes in prosecutor Marcia Clark's hairstyle to news about gruesomely bloodied articles have entered into our personal verdicts.

Here's a look at the ups and downs Mr. Simpson has experienced in the public eye these past seven months.

JUNE 12, 1994

Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are stabbed to death outside her Brentwood condo.

JUNE 17, 1994: up

In a white Bronco driven by childhood friend Al Cowlings, O.J. leads L.A. police on a surreal "chase" as millions watch on TV. Crowds gather along the freeways to cheer him on before he surrenders to police outside his home.

JUNE 22, 1994: down

Audiotapes are released of two frantic calls Nicole made to 911 on Oct. 25, 1993, when a screaming, cursing O.J. kicked in her back door. But news reports of a bloody ski mask turn out to be false.

JUNE 24, 1994: up

Big-name attorneys F. Lee Bailey and Alan Dershowitz, known for gaining acquittals for famous clients accused of murder, join the Simpson defense team led by Robert L. Shapiro.

JUNE 27, 1994: up

Time magazine darkens O.J.'s mug shot to make him appear more menacing, creating a huge outcry from African-Americans and forcing Time to apologize.

JUNE 30, 1994: down

A cutlery store owner testifies at a preliminary hearing that O.J. bought a sharpened, 15-inch stiletto knife from him on May 3 while filming a television pilot outside the shop.

JULY 5, 1994: down

A limousine driver testifies that O.J. wasn't home when the car arrived at his house at 10:25 p.m. on June 12 to drive him to the airport, discrediting the defense contention that O.J. was home when the murders took place.

JULY 17, 1994: up

Police detective Mark Fuhrman, who has a history of racist remarks and actions, is accused by the defense team of planting the bloody glove found at O.J.'s house to frame the former football star.

SEPT. 2, 1994: up

The media reports that a mock trial set up by the prosecution in Phoenix ends in acquittal for O.J. The jury found the evidence unconvincing and prosecutor Marcia Clark's style too aggressive.

SEPT. 15, 1994: down

Nicole's family breaks its public silence on "PrimeTime Live." Family members say O.J. was possessive and insanely jealous.

SEPT. 26, 1994: down

Jury selection begins. Marcia Clark appears to have undergone a makeover designed to "soften" her image.

OCT. 5, 1994: down

Nicole's sister, Denise Brown, accuses O.J. and his lawyers of trying to suppress evidence. She calls him a murderer and says Nicole feared he would kill her one day.

OCT. 17, 1994:down

Faye Resnick's best-selling book, "Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted," says O.J. repeatedly beat Nicole, stalked her and threatened to kill her if he found her with another man.

NOV. 3, 1994: up

After weeks of legal wrangling, a predominantly black jury is seated. The racial makeup favors O.J., some believe, because polls show blacks are more likely than whites to believe he is innocent.

JAN. 4, 1994: down

O.J.'s lawyers drop their fight to throw out the DNA tests on blood at the crime scene and in O.J.'s Bronco.

JAN. 11, 1995: down

Documents released by prosecutors say that during their long, violent relationship, O.J. threw Nicole out of a moving car, beat her during sex and threatened to cut her boyfriends' heads off.

JAN. 16, 1995: down

Newsweek reveals a blood spot found in O.J.'s Bronco is composed of a mixture of blood from him, Nicole and Ronald Goldman. O.J.'s high-powered lawyers begin feuding with one another.

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