CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

'If it doesn't fit, you must acquit'

Defense attacks prosecution's case; says Simpson was framed

September 28, 1995
Web Posted at: 12:51 a.m. EDT

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It all came back to Mark Fuhrman Wednesday night as lead O.J. Simpson defense attorney Johnnie Cochran argued to the jury his client was framed by the former police detective.

Cochran implored the jurors to disregard the prosecutions' contention that Fuhrman, who made racist statements, is not important to the case. "He is central to the prosecution, and for them to say he's not important is untrue, and you will not fall for it because as guardians of justice, you can't let it happen," Cochran said. (261 K aiff or wav sound)

Later, Cochran said, "Mark Fuhrman is a lying, perjuring genocidal racist, and from that moment on, anytime he could get O.J. Simpson he would do it."

Cochran also played on the tarnished reputation of the Los Angeles Police Department. "Anybody, anybody who believes that all police are perfect, that they don't lie, they don't have the same biases and racism that the rest of society has, is living in a dream world."

[socks] While the prosecution spent most of its closing statement piecing together its theory of how the murders occurred, Cochran emphasized inconsistencies in the state's evidence. Those included a luggage strap apparently moved before evidence was photographed and a sticky glove that Cochran said should not have been moist with blood seven hours after the murders.

Focusing on his client's conduct, Cochran argued that everything Simpson did following the murders was consistent with innocence. (318K aiff or wav sound)

Cochran launched his closing arguments Wednesday afternoon by urging jurors to look for flaws in the prosecution's case.

"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," became Cochran's mantra as he tried to convince jurors that the case laid out by prosecutors is inconsistent and full of holes. (91K aiff or wav sound)

[cap] Cochran colorfully illustrated his theme by donning a black knit cap similar to the one prosecutors claim Simpson wore as a disguise the night of the murders. (2.5M QuickTime movie)

"If I put this knit cap on, who am I?" he asked. "I'm still Johnnie Cochran in a knit cap ... and O.J. Simpson in a knit cap from two blocks away is still O.J. Simpson. It's no disguise. It makes no sense. If it doesn't fit. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." (279K aiff or wav sound)

[gloves] Cochran later pulled on a pair of gloves similar to those the prosecution used to try to link Simpson to the murder scene. The act was a reminder to the jurors of the apparent difficulty Simpson had in getting the gloves to fit during a courtroom demonstration. (1.2M QuickTime movie)

Cochran also attacked the prosecution's timeline for the murder, calling it a "tortured window of opportunity." (176K aiff or wav sound)

Simpson simply did not have time to commit murder, Cochran said. He told the jurors if they believe witness Robert Heidstra, who saw a white vehicle speeding way from the crime scene about 10:40 p.m., and if they believe Kato Kaelin heard three thumps on the wall around 10:40, there was no way Simpson could have committed the murders. (261K aiff or wav sound)

To disprove the prosecutions' theory that Simpson was angry with his ex-wife the day of the murders, Cochran showed pictures from that day of Simpson smiling and greeting his former in-laws.

His voice swelling and subsiding in his trademark cadence, Cochran invoked Cicero, Frederick Douglas and the Bible.

[darden] Earlier Wednesday, prosecutor Christopher Darden put a spin on the words Simpson spoke in court last week outside of the jury's presence.

"We've shown you he would have, could have, and did commit killings. He's a murderer; a hell of a football player, but also a murderer."

Darden reminded the jurors of Simpson's brutality by playing one of the 911 calls made by his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.

Darden suggested Simpson killed his former wife because he could not accept that she'd finally broken free of him. (450K aiff or wav sound)

"And he's using a knife to settle a score," Darden said. "He stabs this woman and she's right there, one on one."

As Simpson looked away with a pained expression, Darden continued. "He stabs and cuts and slices till his rage is gone; he's better."

And then, said Darden, Simpson didn't run away from the crime scene, or jog away. He walked away.

[display] Darden wound down his arguments by displaying pictures of the victims, Ron Goldman, a man he said was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Nicole Brown Simpson, a woman he said was in the wrong place, "for a long time."

After finishing his closing statement, Darden told CNN's Art Harris he was exhausted. He complained of muscle spasms in his back and jokingly said, "I'm too old for this. The 38- year-old prosecutor said he felt relieved and hoped he had connected with the jury.

Also Wednesday:

  • Judge Lance Ito told the jury they could expect to get the case on Monday. He also proposed extending deliberation hours for the sequestered jurors who want to end the marathon trial, asking them if they wanted to work nights and Saturdays. Closing arguments will continue Thursday.

    Jurors were informed they will not be permitted conjugal visits once deliberations begin. They were told Ito would consider allowing telephone conversations and family visits, but only if they are fully monitored by a sheriff's deputy.


  • For the second day in a row, defense attorneys arrived at the courthouse flanked by bodyguards, members of the Nation of Islam. A member of the defense team said the defense attorneys had received threats.

  • Among those who came to court in support of the victims' families was Kris Jenner, a longtime friend of Nicole Brown Simpson.

    "I think that anything like this, it was so brutal that of course, you're shocked," she told reporters outside the court. " You're always surprised, as much as she said, he's going to kill me, you never really expect it's going to happen. " Asked to clarify her statement, Jenner said Nicole Brown Simpson told her before her death, "He's going to kill me and he's going to get away with it."

    Invited to court, but unable to attend, was civil rights figure Rosa Parks. The invitation was extended by Johnnie Cochran. A spokeswoman for Parks cited scheduling conflicts.


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