CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

[Marc Watts interviewing Tracy Hampton]

Former Simpson juror discusses her ordeal

August 24, 1995

From Correspondent Marc Watts

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Former juror Tracy Hampton says she never believed Mark Fuhrman in the first place when he said he hadn't used the "n-word" in the last decade.

Ten jurors have been dismissed from the Simpson trial, but Hampton is the only one who has wanted out. Three-and-a-half months ago she begged Superior Court Judge Lance Ito to be released from the panel so she could resume her normal life. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Marc Watts, Hampton spoke out about the rigors of sequestration and what led to the well-publicized jury revolt.

Hampton has never been incarcerated, but after being sequestered for four months, performing civic duty on the so- called "trial of the century," Hampton says she knows what it must be like to do hard time.

"My experience was like being in prison," she said. "We were monitored on a daily basis. Everything we did was as a group together, and we were limited as to some of the things we were able to do. From day one, I was very serious about being a juror on this case. Other people I noticed on the jury, it was a big party for them. There was no one there that I can say that I just couldn't stand, but their behavior I didn't like. I'll say some of the behavior of some of the jurors I didn't like." [160k .aiff sound file]



Tracy Hampton

"My experience was like being in prison"

--Tracy Hampton, former Simpson juror


But what bothered Hampton most was what she described as a routine violation of her privacy. "Our rooms would be searched on a daily basis ... by the deputies who were in charge of us," she says.

Finally after feeling overwhelmed by tension, Hampton went to talk to Ito.

"He asked me if I wanted all the deputies released and I said, 'no.' And then he said, 'How about the three that had given you most of the problems?' and I said 'yes.' And then when they were released, the other jurors didn't like it and they were very upset with me," she said.

How did Hampton know her fellow jurors were angry? "At the hotel," she said, "there were a group of jurors that were together and I knew they were planning something, and they didn't include me. And the next morning, I got in line and everyone had black on except for me, and I think there were maybe two or three other jurors that didn't have black on either."

This event came to be known as "the jury revolt."

"They totally brushed me off. They didn't speak to me," Hampton said. "They really didn't appreciate me talking to Judge Ito about that and getting the deputies released."

Shortly after the incident, Hampton went to see Ito again. "I went in there and said, 'I want out now,' and I think the judge and the attorneys saw how stressed out I was and how depressed I was and they said, 'we'll release her.'"

[Hampton with reporters] When Hampton arrived home, it was to a sea of cameras. The cameras were there again the next day when Hampton was rushed to the hospital. She says she was diagnosed with a condition of acute stress, with symptoms of depression, weight loss and insomnia. She denies reports of attempted suicide.

Hampton plans to write a book and says she has no opinion yet regarding Simpson's innocence or guilt.



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