For many, the forthcoming The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is a chance to relive the murders that absolutely captivated a nation twenty years ago. For the younger generation, however, the show will serve as a true exploration of the beginnings of America’s morbid curiosity with tabloid true crime.
It’s been more than two decades since O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the killings of his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, but the details remain fresh. While the former athlete was later found liable for their deaths in a civil trial, questions still linger over how he was able to walk away. Before Ryan Murphy presents his take on history, here’s how the real players in the “Trial of the Century” have held up.
Simpson wound up where many have long felt he belonged: prison. Now 68, Simpson was arrested in September 2007 after he attempted to steal his own sports memorabilia by holding a group of men at gunpoint. He was subsequently found guilty on four felony counts and sentenced to 33 years in prison at Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada. He will be eligible for parole next year.
A year prior to his arrest, Simpson announced plans to write a book called If I Did It, a speculative retelling of Nicole and Goldman’s murders. Publication was ultimately halted, and Goldman’s family was instead given the right to the retelling. It was released in 2007 under the same title, but with a new subtitle: “Confessions of the Killer.”
Johnnie Cochran Jr.
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Cochran, Simpson’s lead defense attorney, was colorful and flamboyant, both characteristics he used in the courtroom again and again with clients like P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Rosa Parks, and Tupac.
Like many other of the so-called Dream Team players, Cochran wrote a book in 2002 called A Lawyer’s Life and appeared on television in an array of guest bits.
Before dying in 2005 at 67 from an inoperable brain tumor, Cochran had built his firm up to include more than 100 lawyers with offices around the country.
Defense lawyer Shapiro initially served as lead counsel for Simpson before Cochran ultimately took over.
Now 73, Shapiro continues to practice law, in addition to penning several books, including The Search for Justice, A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case, and Misconception. In 2001, he co-founded the online legal technology company LegalZoom, which provides legal solutions in everything from copyrights to wills and trusts.
Shapiro also helped Kim Kardashian, Brian Lee and MJ Eng create ShoeDazzle in 2009.
In addition, the litigator founded The Brent Shapiro Foundation in memoriam for his son, who died after an overdose in 2005. The organization helps fight drug and alcohol abuse through awareness and education.