The O.J. Verdict
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Alan Dershowitz on the various kinds of "truths" in a criminal trial, Jeffrey Toobin on the courtroom tricks and players, and revisiting the Simpson trial through the online archives of news organizations.

Is the Criminal Trial a Search for Truth?

A clear, compelling explanation by renowned legal expert Alan Dershowitz of how there are several kinds of "truths" in a criminal trial -- as was demonstrated in the Simpson case -- and why the search for "truth" in the U.S. system of criminal justice differs greatly from other "more single-minded searches for truth," such as in a scientific or historical inquiry.

A Horrible Human Event

In this New Yorker article published Oct. 23, 1995, Jeffrey Toobin looks back at his experience covering the Simpson trial from seat B-11, second row. From his controversial pre-trial scoop that Detective Fuhrman might become an issue to his post-verdict lunch with Marcia Clark, Toobin offers his anecdotes and perspective on the courtroom battles, and what he learned from getting to know and observe the lawyers on both sides.

Mud and the Mainstream: When the Respectable Press Chases the National Enquirer, What's Going On?

A lively, insightful 1995 Columbia Journalism Review article by reporter Andrea Sachs. She went inside the National Enquirer to report on its editors, culture and the different kind of pressroom ethos and ethics that's behind the Enquirer's reporting. And Sachs summarizes how this tabloid was able to beat, hands down, most of the mainstream press in its coverage of the Simpson story.

USA Today's Full Coverage

This site offers dozens of summaries of the key legal battles in the trial, among them: Johnnie Cochran's 15 points of reasonable doubt; The defense team's final day in court and closing argument; List of the evidence: how the prosecution used it and how the defense challenged it. Plus, the site has excerpts from the defense and prosecution's closing arguments; the public reaction following the verdict; photos, a master timeline; and witness lists for the defense and prosecution.

Court TV's Week by Week Summaries

The major attraction of this site are the weekly trial highlights from Court TV, divided into the defense and prosecution cases. Also off the homepage is a "Video" link on the right that streams six minutes of clips from Johnnie Cochran's closing arguments. (Note: video is slow and jerky but the audio is fine.) Elsewhere off the main page are groupings of trial artifacts, documents, photos, chat transcripts with trial principals or observers, case background, and the transcript of an interview with O.J. conducted by Catherine Crier on the tenth anniversary of his former wife's murder. In all, a lot to explore.

O.J. Simpson Trial

This is a collection of CNN's news coverage of O.J. Simpson in the months following his acquittal. Most of these stories deal with the 1996 wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by relatives of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. In February 1997, the jury in the civil trial found Simpson liable in the deaths and imposed a $33.5 million damages award against him. However, it has been widely reported that this remains largely unpaid (read, for example, this 2004 Associated Press story).

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posted oct. 4, 2005

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