October 5, 1995
Web posted at: 11:50 a.m. EDT
From Special Assignment Correspondent Art Harris
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Since the O.J. Simpson verdict, we haven't heard much from the losing side, the prosecution. Marcia Clark and Chris Darden are still keeping their own counsel. But others have begun to talk, including their boss, Deputy District Attorney William Hodgman, who said prosecutors believe they got their man.
"I feel, and I believe in my heart of hearts, that we proved Simpson was the murderer of Ron and Nicole," Hodgman somberly told CNN.
Recalling those painfully slow minutes before Tuesday's verdict was read, Hodgman said, "Perhaps it's one of the great passionate moments of being a trial lawyer because your heart pounds. You think it's going to explode right in front of your chest. Time seems to stand still as the clerk is reading those words."
Then it was over. After a second of seemingly stunned amazement, Simpson broke into a smile at his not-guilty verdict. Victim Ron Goldman's sister began sobbing loudly. And both Nicole Brown Simpson's family and the prosecution were silent.
"I closed my eyes. I couldn't believe it," recalled Hodgman, who still looked slightly amazed more than a day later. "And I had to think to myself, 'Did I dream that? Did I actually hear that?'" Hodgman said it was painful to watch the victim's families and he said he felt as if he'd been delivered a blow directly to the gut. (265K AIFF sound or 265K WAV sound)
Hodgman said he was amazed at that the jury arrived at the verdict within only a few hours. "When I think of the word 'deliberate,' I think of a meaningful discussion of all the evidence," he said, adding he would be surprised if that was what this jury had done. (195K AIFF sound or 195K WAV sound)
Some of the jurors have linked their "reasonable doubts" to the prosecution's reliance on Mark Fuhrman, a detective with a history of racist remarks.
"Based on the information we had available to us at the time," Hodgman said, " Mark Fuhrman was a professional, diligent detective."
But Fuhrman's credibility was damaged by one piece of testimony after another, including that of defense witness Roderic Hodge, who described racist remarks Fuhrman had made to him. (50K AIFF sound or 50K WAV sound)
In hindsight, said Hodgman, "The information that came to light ... with regard to Mark Fuhrman, I wish we had known that. I would have done something about it. But we didn't."
Fuhrman's offensive attitudes outraged African-Americans, women and even Judge Lance Ito. Taped conversations with Fuhrman revealed the detective had maligned Ito's wife. Protesters against the "racist cop" rallied outside the court building.
"I can't through the trial of this case solve all of society's problems, as much as I'd like to," Hodgman reflected. "I can try to inspire some calmness, some sense of reason and some sense that the right thing occurred. I guess it's up to people out there to decide whether that happened in this case."
He said he continues to believe in the American judicial system and "the people should, too."
The defense has asked if the district attorney's office will now look for the true culprit in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. To that request Hodgman replied simply, "We proved who the real killer was." (20K AIFF sound or 20K WAV sound)
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