October 3, 1995
Web posted at: 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT)
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Orenthal James Simpson is a free man (2M QT movie). He was acquitted Tuesday in the brutal stabbing murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, outside her luxury townhouse on the night of June 12, 1994 (512K AIFF sound or 512K WAV sound).
Flanked by defense attorney Johnnie Cochran and longtime friend Robert Kardashian, Simpson stood and faced the jury as a court clerk read two "not guilty" verdicts shortly after 10 a.m. PDT. He mouthed the words "thank you" after each verdict was read. Members of Simpson's family cried tears of joy in the courtroom as the family of murder victim Ron Goldman wept just a few feet away. Simpson hugged Cochran. Prosecutors studied jurors as each was asked individually if the verdicts were accurate. Each juror said yes.
The verdict was in a sealed envelope handed to Judge Lance Ito on Monday by the jury forewoman, a 51-year-old local government employee.
Testimony in the trial took almost nine months, encompassing about 120 witnesses, 45,000 pages of evidence and 1,100 exhibits. But the jury of 10 women and two men, comprising nine blacks, two whites and one Hispanic, took less than four hours to reach the verdicts. Jurors spent about an hour of that time listening to a court reporter read back testimony from limousine driver Allan Park, who took Simpson to the airport on the night of the double murder. Park, who arrived at Simpson's estate shortly after 9:30 p.m., found the house in darkness, apparently with no one at home.
Simpson, a college football star and Heisman Award winner, was later elected to the pro-football Hall of Fame and parlayed his skill as an athlete into a successful career as a sportscaster, actor and TV pitchman.
Before the jury entered the courtroom, Ito announced that jurors informed him they did not want to be contacted by the news media after the trial ended.
In the hours before the verdict was announced, news helicopters swarmed over the courthouse, police squad cars cruised downtown streets and barricades blocked traffic in front of the Criminal Courts Building. A swelling crowd was moved out of the area in a police sweep at 8 a.m. Police stressed they did not expect any unrest in the black community after the verdicts and said the alert, which put hundreds of extra police on the streets, was merely a precautionary measure.
Earlier Tuesday, the Justice Department said it was making contingency plans to coordinate any use of Federal law enforcement resources, should state and local officials in Los Angeles request them after the verdict. President Clinton was briefed on the possibility of assisting California authorities.
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