- Associated Press - Sunday, June 8, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - O.J. Simpson arose from the counsel table at his murder trial and approached the jury box with the famous leather gloves. As he struggled to get them past his knuckles, he held his hands up to jurors and stated the obvious: “They’re too small.”

Next to me in the front row of the courtroom sat gadfly writer Dominick Dunne, who came to the trial believing the football hero was guilty of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. But in that moment the playing field had changed.

“Did you see that?” Dunne whispered to me. “He took those gloves and he ran with them as if he was running down a football field. This case is over.”

As if encased in amber, that moment from Simpson’s “Trial of the Century” lives on in my memory.


Stunned by the scene, I called prosecutor Chris Darden on the phone at the day’s end, asking why he had Simpson try on the gloves.

“What did it look like to you?” he asked me.

“It looked like they didn’t fit,” I said.

“Well,” Darden said, “I looked at his hands and I looked at the gloves and I thought they would fit.”

Darden had violated a cardinal rule of courtroom law: Don’t demonstrate something in front of a jury unless you know the outcome.

That day, Simpson’s charismatic lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, coined a phrase that would become an enduring motto in pop culture: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

There would be months more testimony, but that was a turning point. It was June 15, 1995, a year and two days after the slashed bodies of Nicole Simpson and Goldman had been found outside her home.

Police said they found a bloody glove at the scene and many hours later a lone police detective, Mark Fuhrman, scaled a wall outside O.J. Simpson’s house and said he found a match. Now, the gloves appeared not to fit the suspect and the credibility of Fuhrman would be irrevocably damaged when tapes revealed him making disparaging remarks about blacks.

Were the gloves planted? Was it a setup? Those questions would haunt the case forever.

No knife was located and there were no bloody clothes at Simpson’s home. DNA evidence was compromised by shoddy police work.

Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark, who was watching her case fall apart, came to my courthouse office one morning and asked, “Do you think we even have a chance?”

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