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Never having tried a murder case, putting his firm's considerable reputation at risk, confronting a media swarm for which he was totally unprepared, and facing an overwhelming financial disadvantage, Petrocelli nonetheless went on a personal and increasingly passionate mission to bring about justice. Triumph of Justice is a chronicle of that mission. Petrocelli's insights, observations, and inside information not only show us how he convinced a jury to find O.J. Simpson liable for $33.5 million in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman--proving to the American people that their legal system does indeed work--he also makes the story a compelling and exciting legal read.
Among the revelations detailed in these pages:
Petrocelli's ten-day, no-holds-barred deposition of O.J. Simpson
What Petrocelli learned from the incendiary depositions and interviews of Kato Kaelin, Faye Resnick, Marcus Allen, A.C. Cowlings, and others
The surprising realizations that emerged from a mock jury trial, which Petrocelli lost
His dramatic face-to-face courtroom confrontation with O.J. Simpson on the witness stand
What happened that night in Brentwood
Petrocelli also offers insight into the larger issues--of race, wealth, celebrity, and police competence--surrounding the case. He places the trial in its proper context and, in so doing, examines legal questions and issues about our justice system that affect and reflect upon every one of us.
Triumph of Justice proves, conclusively, that O.J. Simpson told lie after lie and that he did indeed kill his ex-wife and an innocent man. It is the story you haven't heard about the trial you didn't see and is the closest, most in-depth look at an important murder case since Helter Skelter.
Fred Goldman never said the mans name; he always referred to O.J. Simpson as the killer. Fred's son Ron Goldman and Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, had been brutally murdered by this man. He was a killer. That was never in doubt.
The physical evidence was conclusive: Simpson's blood was dripped at the murder scene; a cap with hairs matching his was found next to Ron's and Nicole's dead bodies; one of Simpson's large leather gloves was lying between them; and the matching glove, still holding strands of the victims hair and stained with their blood and Simpson's was found outside his house. Size-twelve shoe prints, slightly pigeon-toed, were clearly stamped in the victims blood, at the murder scene. Simpson is among the 9 percent of the population who wears size-twelve shoes, and he is pigeon-toed. Those shoe prints made an impression that was matched to one sole in the world - a Silga sole, manufactured at the Silga factory in Civitinova Marche, Italy, for the upscale shoemaker Bruno Magli. We had photographs of Simpson wearing Bruno Magli shoes with the identical sole. Simpson's white Ford Bronco, parked outside his house, contained not only Simpson's blood but Ron's and Nicole's, and a shoe impression consistent with the Bruno Magli stained the carpet on the drivers side. A trail of Simpson's blood was dripped up his driveway, into his house, and up to his bedroom and bathroom. Planting of that blood was out of the question because just like the blood at the murder scene, it was found long before police investigators had taken any blood from his arm. Simpson had cuts all over his hands the day after the murders but had no explanation for how he got them. His socks were lying on his bedroom floor, spattered with his blood and Nicole's. Blue black cotton fibers consistent with a dark sweatsuit were found at both the crime scene and in Simpson's home, linking him to both locations. Rare carpet fibers of the type used in his Bronco were found at the murder scene. His blood, his cuts, his clothing, his gloves, his shoes, his car, his house, his ex-wife's blood, Ron Goldman's blood...all pointed to O.J. Simpson and to no one else.
We spent the first eighteen days of the trial laying out this overwhelming evidence. Still, I was in no way certain we would win. Much of this same evidence had fallen on deaf ears in the criminal trial.
Our jury research showed we had a paradox on our hands: The more we emphasized the brutality of the murders, the more people thought it unlikely Simpson had committed them. The killings were chilling, vengeful, full of rage; Simpson was warm, celebrated, seductive. He wore thousand-dollar suits and flashed a million dollar smile. How could this man have committed this crime? I strongly believed our jury any jury would struggle to accept the physical evidence, no matter how incriminating, unless they were convinced that O.J. Simpson was a man capable of committing these murders. Far from the all-American hero who had smiled and charmed his way into our hearts, O.J. Simpson was a man who betrayed his image, a man of no conscience, no remorse, no character. He was a man who beat his wife and lied about it to everyone. He was a man who never accepted responsibility for anything. Yes, he was a man who would kill. This is what we needed to show to the jury, and that is why we had to call O.J. Simpson to the witness stand.
I made a decision not to call him O.J. O.J. was a celebrity. He ran through airports, winked at grandmas, and played a lovable dunce in the Naked Gun movies. He was handsome, mischievous, wholesome; he was the Juice. If I permitted Simpson to endear himself to the jury on that witness stand, we would lose. If the jury believed Simpson when he looked them in the eyes and swore on his children that he did not commit these murders, the case would be over. No amount of blood, DNA, or physical evidence would overcome that one defining moment of this trial. I could not allow that to happen. This was my clients last chance for justice. I could not let him down, let his family down, let our team down, let down millions of people across the country who'd been horrified by the verdict at the criminal trial. And I could not let down Ron Goldman, or Nicole Brown Simpson, two people I never met but grew to know like my closest friends.
I resolved there would be no O.J. on the witness stand today. I would not even refer to that sweet nickname. I would begin by calling him by his given name, Orenthal Simpson.
Pursuant to California Evidence Code Section 776, I told the court, we call to the stand the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson. The James just slipped out. I guess I was more nervous than Id thought.
I had read everything, learned everything, spoken to everyone who would speak to me, immersed myself in Simpson's life and was ready to take him on. I had worked obsessively for more than a year to prepare for this moment. The outline our team developed was comprehensive and meticulously planned. But success would require more than knowledge and preparation. I had to take control of the examination from the beginning. I had to control a man who never once in his life let anyone control him.
Primacy is important in a trial. An attorneys first approach to a witness leaves a powerful impact with the jury. I wanted to show the jury right off the bat that Simpson would lie to them. About everything. That was the linchpin. If he lied, he was guilty. An innocent man would not lie.
Simpson was clever and calculating and when backed against a wall was not a man to be underestimated. He had managed his criminal trial from a jail cell, and he had won twelve zip in under three hours. He was the supreme competitor. We did not expect him to break down on the witness stand and confess to the murders or lead us to the murder weapon. I was not going to make him explode in anger and turn into a raging killer right before the jury's eyes. I knew Simpson was determined, more than anything else, not to flash the slightest hint of a temper, much less anger or rage. His demeanor throughout eleven days of pretrial deposition, at which he appeared virtually sedated, assured me Simpson would do everything in his power to convince the jury he was incapable of losing emotional control as he had on the night of June 12, 1994, at 875 South Bundy Drive. But that was fine with me. In his zeal to deceive the jury, Simpson failed to realize that a truthful, innocent man falsely accused of murdering the mother of his children and a young man, would not be able to contain his anger even for one minute.
The most important question, in terms of Simpson's credibility, was whether he had ever hit his wife. If the jury believed he had never struck Nicole, they would believe anything Simpson told them. Right from the outset, I had to disabuse them of that notion.
I began my examination with a few very safe questions that I knew he couldn't argue with concerning his first meeting with Nicole. Then, when I got to my first important question, about the nature of their relationship, Simpson immediately started to lie.
It was a problem relationship for you throughout much of that time, true?
I addressed him sharply. He was a killer, and I intended to treat him like one. How could I expect the jury to convict this celebrity if I treated him with deference?
Not true, he said firmly.
I immediately impeached him with a statement he made to Los Angeles Police Department detectives Tom Lange and Phil Vannatter when they interviewed him after he came back from Chicago the day after the murders. Did you not tell the Los Angeles police detectives who interviewed you on June 13, 1994, hours after Nicole's death, that you had always had problems with your relationship with Nicole, it was a problem relationship?
Yes. Then he started to argue with me. We had problems in our relationship, but I don't think it was mostly a problem.
Did you not say that to the police detectives on June 13, 1994? Yes or no?
You said that, right?
And when you said, I have always had problems with her, that's our relationship has been a problem relationship, that was true, correct?
This started the process of disciplining Simpson to answer my questions. Simpson was very skilled at putting self-serving argument and spin on his answers, rarely giving a straightforward response and hoping to deflect the aim of the question. It was critical that I not let him get away with this; whoever was in control was going to carry the day.
Posted February 24, 2010
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