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O.J. Simpson -vs- Marcia Clark

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O.J. Simpson -vs- Marcia Clark

Who's better, O.J. Simpson or Marcia Clark?

Marcia Clark
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O.J. Ten Years Later

By GREG MORAGO | The Hartford Courant
Posted June 3, 2004

Before the barking dog, the car chase, the bloody glove - before all of the things that made the O.J. Simpson trial one of the most unforgettable cases in American jurisprudence history - there was murder.

On the night of June 12, 1994, Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were slain at Simpson's home in Brentwood, Calif., according to police. Their bodies were found early the next day, in a scene that was described as blood flowing "like a river."

What happened next was nearly 16 months of riveting drama and a criminal trial that was one of the longest in U.S. history. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty on Oct. 3, 1995. By then, Americans had become intimately aware of nearly every aspect of Simpson's personal life and those of the key players in the trial.

People were polarized by the verdict (one of those rare moments when everything came to a standstill), and no one involved in the case emerged unchanged.

"I know a great deal about fame. Fame is one of my favorite subjects in the world. I spent my entire adult life among the famous," says author Dominick Dunne, who chronicled the trial for Vanity Fair. "There is fame of achievement, and there is event fame. Because of the event of a murder, people became famous for the time this trial lasted. Judge Ito, F. Lee Bailey, Marcia Clark and a couple of others became known figures throughout the land. And it changed them. It was life altering for everyone involved."

It also significantly changed perceptions about the U.S. legal system, about how reporters cover the news and about the existing racial divide in this country.

"For many people, it was their first exposure to that branch of government, to the judicial branch of government. Obviously, the celebrity aspect and the stakes were high, but it was the first time that many people truly saw a courtroom and a trial unfold from beginning to end," says Henry Schleiff, chairman and CEO of Court TV, which doggedly covered the trial.

The presence of cameras in the courtroom allowed viewers to follow every step of the trial.

"There are many people who believe that O.J. was guilty, as he was proven to be in the civil trial," Schleiff says. "Regardless of what you believe, it was an opportunity for people to see it and have opinions on both sides of the issue of guilt or innocence. A second lesson is that many people had never heard the term forensics before. It was almost the initial opportunity to understand that science could be applied to an investigation."

The Simpson case was unlike anything reporters had encountered before, Dunne says.

"Has there ever been a case like it? No. It was a totally unique experience for every single reporter, both television and print, who covered it," he says.

Anyone who had a part in that trial shares a bond, Dunne says - even those on opposing sides of the case: "It's like a buddy you run into who you were in World War II with. You can't run into anyone and not talk about it."

There will be lots of talk about the case as the 10-year anniversary of the murders approaches. The anniversary undoubtedly will be met with special reports and endless replays of images from the investigation and trial. Those images will no doubt bring back memories for millions of Americans who were riveted by what was called "the trial of the century."

Here are some of the key players in that case and what has happened since in their lives:

F. Lee Bailey - The legendary defense attorney made headlines of his own when he was disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts in 2001 for mishandling millions of dollars owned by a former client who was a convicted drug dealer. A frequent guest expert on television, Bailey's star clients have included Simpson, Patricia Hearst and the Boston Strangler.

Denise Brown - The outspoken sister of Nicole Brown Simpson heads the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation and has become an activist against domestic violence. The foundation is planning to establish Nicole's House, a transitional residence for battered women trying to start a new life. Brown recently blasted Marcia Clark for botching the trial and then "trashing" the family in her book, "Without a Doubt."

Marcia Clark - The lead co-prosecutor in the case no longer practices but has remained visible as a television legal analyst. She's doing legal commentary on the Michael Jackson case for "Entertainment Tonight." She earned $4.2 million for "Without a Doubt."