1995: The O.J. Simpson Trial Begins
On this day in 1995, opening statements began in the People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson, the nearly nine-month televised court case dubbed the “Trial of the Century.”
Simpson was charged with the 1994 murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her acquaintance, Ronald Goldman, and the lengthy, high-profile case against the football player-turned-actor made celebrities of the trial’s key players, including Judge Lance Ito, procecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, and Simpson’s “Dream Team” defense team: Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, Alan Dershowitz, F. Lee Bailey, Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld and Robert Kardashian.
The colorful proceedings — “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” — and ongoing media coverage kept viewers riveted. The live, “not guilty” verdict was witnessed by more than half the U.S. population.