One of the attorneys who tried O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman has shared what he would say to Simpson if they ever came face to face again, following news of his upcoming release from prison.
Christopher Darden, 61, was a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office who, alongside Marcia Clark, tried Simpson in the so-called “trial of the century” in 1994.
Following Simpson’s acquittal, Darden was fired from the DA's office and went on to become a criminal defense attorney.
Though more than two decades have passed since the notorious trial, Darden shared his insights on the case — and what he would do if he saw the soon-to-be freed Simpson — in a candid question-and-answer session on Reddit Sunday.
“I wouldn’t feel anything one way or the other,” Darden said. “I sure as hell wouldn’t be afraid of him. I’d probably tell him to get the f*** off my sidewalk and take his ass across the street.”
Simpson was granted parole Thursday after serving nine years for armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson, who had been given a 33-year sentence in connection to the 2007 incident, could be freed as soon as October.
“I fully expected that he would make parole,” Darden wrote. “It was kind of nice seeing him in handcuffs and knowing he was in prison all those years, but I understand the Nevada parole board’s decision.”
Trying Simpson for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend, who were found stabbed to death at her Los Angeles home, was physically and mentally taxing on Darden, who spoke of the ways in which he believed the trial went wrong.
“I would have done lots of things differently,” Darden wrote. “First thing I would have done differently was to not announce beforehand that I intended to arrest O.J. By signaling to him that he was going to be arrested, it allowed him to get into his Bronco and take us on that slow speed Bronco chase.”
Darden said he didn’t believe Simpson put forth his best effort in trying on the black leather glove that was recovered from the crime scene — a moment that led to defense attorney Johnnie Cochran’s famous line: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
“No, he played around with it and tried to avoid making it fit,” Darden said of Simpson’s efforts to put on the glove. “I hoped the jury would recognize that, but they couldn’t see it, because they didn’t want to see it.”
And his take on Cochran’s statement?
“Well, quite honestly, I did not appreciate at the time the impact that little ditty had on the jurors,” Darden wrote. “I thought it was a kids rhyme for idiots, to be honest, but it was effective.
“I take responsibility for the glove issues, so if there is any blame or fault to be assessed, it fell on me,” Darden later wrote. “And it should be assessed to me because I'm the only one strong enough to carry that burden.”
He noted that if Simpson were to admit he killed Brown-Simpson and Goldman today, he could not be prosecuted, but made a pointed clarification in his answer.
“He has been found innocent, and to prosecute him again in state court would constitute double jeopardy and would be precluded by law. Did I say innocent? I meant not guilty,” Darden wrote.
Simpson in 1997 was ordered by a civil court jury to pay $25 million in punitive damages to the families of Brown-Simpson and Goldman.
Ron Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, spoke out against Simpson last week, especially the former NFL star's remark to the parole board that he has led a “conflict-free life.”
“A conflict-free life?” Fred Goldman said to The Associated Press. “This is who he is: He’s a sociopath, a narcissistic liar, a murderer, a thug, a kidnapper, a robber. The list goes on.”
Darden spoke highly of Fred Goldman, who he joked has a mustache that was "created by God as the eighth wonder of the world.”
He added: “And there’s something about Fred, that when he talks, you want to listen,” Darden continued. “He is a straight-shooter. He never minces words. And he is as good a man as his mustache looks on television.”
Darden also spoke on his relationship with Cochran, who he said pointed one of his first clients as a defense attorney his way.
“Cochrane(sic) used the media to change the conversation as effectively as Donald Trump does,” Darden said.
Racial tensions following the beating of Rodney King by police and the ensuing riots in Los Angeles also had a bearing on the trial, Darden said.
“It made the jury more willing to accept the ridiculous idea that LAPD officers framed Simpson,” he said.
Simpson’s celebrity — and the media circus that followed — also affected the trial, Darden said.
“I think cameras in the court room are a mistake. I think they have a way of reducing a serious somber proceeding to a reality TV show and a mockery of what a trial ought to be,” he said.
Darden noted what he believes should be done when trying high-profile cases, saying: “I think that it’s important to have available to those prosecutors a mental health professional and someone to manage the media and social media.
“I think that will help a prosecutor stay grounded and focused,” he continued. “If it’s going to be a long trial – 8 months, a year — I think it’s important to have a nutritionist available. By the time the Simpson case was over, I’d lost more than 20 pounds and 2 teeth, had 4 root canals, and God knows what else.”