LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Nearly 20 years after the ‘Trial of the Century’ grabbed the nation’s attention, CBS takes a look at one of the most pivotal, controversial pieces of evidence that influenced the verdict.
Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, which set off what had been the most publicized courtroom proceedings in California history — the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
For nine months, the trial labored on, with testimonies, arguments and evidence, of which there remain 150 boxes, still stored in a secret location in Los Angeles. Of this plethora of evidence, no piece was as paramount, climactic, or controversial as ‘the glove’.
Associated Press special correspondent Linda Deutsch, who has covered nearly every major criminal trial in Los Angeles for over four decades, says that when Simpson tried on the bloodied glove, reportedly found at the Simpson estate, the trial’s momentum shifted.
After Simpson tried on the glove, it was clear that it did not fit his hand, and Simpson’s attorney, Johnnie Cochram, famously turned the moment into a lasting phrase, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
“I remember being so shocked that I called (prosecutor) Chris Darden on the phone, and I said, ‘Chris why did you do that’, and he said, ‘well, I looked at the glove, I looked at his hand, and I thought it was going to fit him’,” Deutsch said.
It was the moment that led to the most headlined trial of the 20th century’s conclusion, with a verdict of “not guilty”.
Now, in the 21st century, the glove was removed from storage, under security, by the District Attorney’s office, to give CBS an up-close look at the iconic piece of evidence, which was displayed by an archivist.
“The leather is very wrinkled,” Deutsch noted. “I looks pretty soft. (It) looks to me like there’s a hole, like it’s been kinda chewed up. There’s also some sort of lining hanging out, or just damaged.”
Deutsch saw the glove before, 20 years ago during its initial presentation before the court.
“I was sitting right behind O.J.,” Deutsch recalled. “I certainly didn’t see it this closely.”
However, she saw Simpson himself more recently; one year ago, in Las Vegas, as Simpson requested a new trial for his conviction of armed robbery and kidnapping.
“He does not look well,” Deutsch noted. “He’s put on an enormous amount of weight, if you saw the footage. He moves slowly, he’s getting older. I think that the whole thing, while it has been very debilitating to him physically, his spirit remains strong.”
Deutsch also says that, in the two decades since Simpson’s acquittal, she and Simpson have developed something of a mutual respect for one another.
“Anything he ever said to me was on the record. I have asked him about it many times in our conversations, and he always says the same thing, ‘I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened’.”