Twenty years ago, Carl Douglas was a member of the notorious defense team that helped O.J. Simpson get acquitted in a court case that was known at the time as “the trial of the century.”
Douglas spoke to Eyewitness News about his recollections from working on the Simpson case as a part of the infamous “dream team.”
On the evening of June 12, 1994, the ex-wife of O.J., Nicole Simpson, was stabbed to death along with a friend, Ronald Goldman, outside of her condominium in Brentwood, California. The two children she had with Simpson were still asleep inside the home when their mother and her friend were murdered. Their bodies were found in the early morning on June 3, 1994.
Less than a week later on June 18, 1994, Simpson fled from police in a two-hour car chase that ended at his home in Brentwood.
The events began the night before, when O.J. stayed at the house of longtime friend, Robert Kardashian Sr. At Kardashian’s San Fernando Valley home. Simpson wrote letters and recorded suicide tapes in a room that at the time belonged to a teenage Kim Kardashian. The following day, O.J. left the house and disappeared after officially being declared a fugitive. Soon after this, the infamous white bronco car chase began.
In the notorious car chase, Simpson, along with friend and former teammate Al Cowlings, made his getaway through southern California in a white bronco. This police chase was broadcast across the nation, captivating the country as they watched O.J. flee from the authorities on live television. After Simpson made a 911 call from the vehicle, authorities were able to track him and the pursuit began.
After two hours, Cowlings and Simpson pulled the car into the driveway of the house that belonged to O.J. Cowlings reportedly went into the house, leaving a distressed and armed Simpson in the truck to negotiate his surrender with the police.
For an hour, the police tried to coax the distraught O.J. from the infamous white bronco sitting in his driveway. Simpson was brandishing a pistol and threatening suicide from inside the vehicle. Eventually, O.J. was persuaded to leave the car and was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder.
Then began the trial that went down in history. Four hundred and seventy-four days following the arrest, after planted evidence and the bloody glove incident, in which the infamous words, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” were uttered, Simpson was acquitted of the double murder on October 3, 1995.
On that day, Carl Douglas was in the courtroom waiting for the cue signifying that the jury had made a decision.
“We got three buzzes, which in those days reflected there was a verdict. I remember walking back into the lockup with O.J. We called him ‘Juice,’ and ‘Juice’ was worried and pacing, kind of like a caged lion…Whenever people ask me about the verdict, I remind them that there were only 12 people on this Earth that listened to every question that was asked, that listened to every answer that was given and that had a chance to review hundreds of pieces of evidence that were introduced.”
Douglas was asked by Eyewitness News whether or not he believed Simpson to be guilty. The former attorney of O.J. did not explicitly answer the question. He avoided a direct answer by saying that if Simpson would have lost the case, regardless if he actually had committed the crime or not, it would have been more unfortunate for America, because the prosecutors would have won through deceit and corruption.
“After 20 years, I have not chosen to argue with anyone who has a belief that Mr. Simpson was responsible for two deaths. But I’ll tell you, I had a chance to work on this one case for 16 months. I dare say, in this great country, if the police can lie and plant evidence against O.J. Simpson, if they were to win, then none of us would be safe. Every night I can think back on the work that we lawyers did and sleep in total comfort.”
O.J. Simpson is currently serving a 33 year sentence for armed robbery.
[Photos Courtesy of Ethan Miller, Jed Jacobsohn, AFP/Getty Images]