The Maytag lawyer

January 30, 1995|By Art Buchwald

I DIDN'T think he existed, but I have found the only defense attorney who has not been interviewed on television about the O.J. Simpson trial. His name is John Campbell and because nobody has ever asked for his advice, his fellow barristers refer to him as the "Maytag Man of Lawyers."

I discovered him sitting by his phone waiting for it to ring.

"Why do you think that you never got the call from a talk show host concerning O.J.?" I asked John.

"I know as much as anyone else," he said. "I'm very presentable, and I can second-guess the prosecution and the defense as well as any big-shot lawyers appearing on 'Today' and 'Good Morning America.' Somebody left me out of the computer, and I'm going to launch a class action suit against all the network TV shows.

"No client wants a lawyer to defend him if he hasn't expressed an opinion on whether Robert Shapiro and F. Lee Bailey know what they're doing."

John kept looking at the telephone. "I just know that Larry King is going to call. I once met him at a party, and he told me that if he ever needed legal advice for his viewers he'd give me a buzz."

"What would you say if you actually did get on television?"

"I'd tell the truth. The prosecution was lucky to get Judge Ito to admit Nicole's 911 call, but the defense can use the decision when it comes time to appeal the case."

"That makes sense, and it's also good show business. Is there some way you can offer yourself to CNN when one of its regular experts is stuck at O'Hare Airport and can't make it to the show?"

"I told ABC that I'd pay my own expenses to offer my thoughts on the DNA evidence. And I told them that I would throw in an opinion on what the sequestered jury is thinking for nothing. But Diane Sawyer never got back to me. If I don't appear on one of the big shows I'm going to wind up as a public defender on Court TV."

I was beginning to feel sorry for Campbell, especially when many magazine shows use law school students as commentators.

"Perhaps they're saving you for the summing up. They're going to need thousands of lawyers on that day."

He shook his head. "You have to know somebody big in television to get booked as a defense lawyer on a talk show. My niece dates a fellow who writes for David Letterman, and she said that they may be looking for someone to kid around with Dave on the 10 best ways to drive a white Bronco down the San Diego Freeway."

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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