There’s a miniseries about the O.J. Simpson trial going on this week. Stuff I remember about the O.J. Simpson trial:
- The first reports about the bodies of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman being found came on June 13, 1994, the morning I took the LSAT test. I listened to the news about it on the radio in the car, driving between Beckley and Charleston. I remember thinking “huh, someone must’ve REALLY been mad at O.J. Simpson to go after his family like that.”
- On Friday night, June 17, I was in Beckley for my friend’s wedding the next day. We had an impromptu bachelor party for him in a motel room that evening. During the party, for the first time in my life, I watched someone do cocaine in my presence. Then the Bronco chase came on the TV and we sat and watched it. The dude who did cocaine was REALLY into it.
- Early in 1995, my girlfriend and I went to New York to visit law schools to which I had applied. While walking in Greenwich Village, we passed a bar that had a big banner which said “O.J. Trial Happy Hour: $4 Drafts.” It was a high quality banner they had paid a decent amount to print. I assume they realized the happy hour promotion would last a long time.
- On October 3, 1995 I was a first year law student at George Washington. The verdict was read, it so happened, during my criminal law class and the professor had arranged to have a TV in there. When the verdict was read, part of the class gasped in shock and part of the class cheered. Yes, it broke down by racial lines as far as I could tell. The professor cheered too. Worth noting, however, that she was and remains very invested in racial inequalities in the criminal justice system and, no matter what she thought about the guilt or innocence of O.J. she was MAD about the Mark Fuhrman bullshit. And quite understandably so.
- Soon after the trial ended, two of CNN’s breakout star legal analysts from the O.J. trial, Greta van Susteren and Roger Cossack, were given their own legal affairs show called “Burden of Proof,” which taped in Washington. They put a flier up for panelists at the law school and I went down one day and served as one of the five panelists for an episode. I can’t remember for the life of me what the topic was. I spoke once, I think, and Greta nodded, said “yeah, true, true” in that absent way people say that when they’re not really listening and then then they threw it to a commercial. I received a gift certificate for a pizza place for appearing on the panel.
- In May 1997 I visited my friend Todd in Los Angeles. He lived on Sunset, close to Brentwood, and took us by the O.J. house and the murder scene. There were still lots of tourists there gawking nearly three years after it all went down and over a year and a half after the trial ended. Some of the nearby houses had signs out front that said “O.J. Tourists Go Home.” I felt bad when I realized, oh yeah, I guess I’m one too.
I think that’s the extent to which it the O.J. Simpson trial intersected with my life. I am not watching the miniseries.