Twenty Years Since O.J. Simpson ‘Not Guilty’ Verdict, Those Closest To The Case Reflect

On October 3, 1995, the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito presided over the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson. It has been 20 years since the verdict, and those involved in the case are still reflecting. Judge Ito, the presiding judge, has just retired this year, having heard 500 trials since the infamous 1995 O.J. murder trial in which it was heard how Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, was brutally stabbed to death.

Speaking with close friends of Ito, who personally remains quiet about his personal feelings regarding the case, have only praise for the judge.

“He is so humble. It’s kind of amazing, considering the spotlight he got put on.”

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno regularly poked fun at Ito, who apparently had a sense of humour about the whole thing, a close friend reports.

Ito had to preside over some of the more bizarre court events, like when O.J. Simpson tried to put on the murder gloves, placing the now famous line, “if it doesn’t fit, then you must acquit,” into our permanent memories.

Kim Goldman, sister of murder victim Ron Goldman (who was murdered along with Nicole), successfully filed a wrongful death suit against O.J. Simpson. Kim says she still is haunted by the memories of the not guilty verdict.

“We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.”

Kim has penned a book entitled Media Circus, which is a book about tragedy played out in public, and how one might cope under these circumstances.

Pat Morrison, a KPCC Contributor, also reflects on her covering of the trial.

“In the 20 years since, other crimes and other outrages have eclipsed the Simpson case. The 9/11 attacks delivered some serious perspective.”

Pat recounts how divisive the verdict was to a population that either believed Simpson was guilty or that he was, as his defense team (AKA “The Dream Team”) argued, an unfortunate casualty in the lack of will to find the “real killers.”

Bumper stickers abounded with phrases such as “OJ Innocent,” “OJ Guilty,” and hundreds of variations. In short, media and commerce benefited from the “circus.” Kris Jenner, the reality-TV star and businesswoman, and her late husband, Robert Kardashian, were close to O.J. Simpson, and who appeared at her wedding as one of the groomsmen.

After Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson were found dead, however, the relationship was “strained,” Kris admits. Kris Jenner will be reflecting on the experience in a new LMN documentary, called “The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story,” which will be sponsored by several media organizations under the umbrella of Disney.

Kris most famously recounts a conversation she had with Nicole just before her murder.

“He’s going to kill me and he’s going to get away with it.”

As People reports, new information about the case continues to emerge. In an ABC interview on 20/20, Lawrence Schiller, author of American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the O.J. Simpson Defense, claims the ex Buffalo Bill running back hall of famer contemplated suicide in Kim Kardashian’s former childhood bedroom. Just before the famous Bronco freeway chase, O.J. Simpson was found by Kardashian Sr. “holding onto photos of Nicole and their children Justin and Sydney.”

As new evidence emerges and people look back, Simpson himself continues to try to clear his name. His now canceled book, If I Did It [2007], written by ghostwriter Pablo Fenjves, recounts morbidly the way Simpson would have killed Nicole if he had indeed committed the crime. The book was largely seen as an attempt to raise much needed funds by O.J., whose fortunes had all gone to the Goldman family due to their wrongful death suit.

O.J. Simpson failed in his bid for a re-trial. The now 66-year-old has been a prisoner in Nevada Prison since 2008 for the crimes of assault, robbery, and kidnapping. He is yet to receive clemency for his recent diagnosis of brain cancer.

[Images by Ethan Miller / AFP / Getty Images / Pool]