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Larry King Live
Christopher Darden and Johnnie Cochran Discuss the O.J. Simpson TrialAired June 12, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they were courtroom adversaries in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. And now, six years to the day after the killings of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran and former prosecutor Christopher Darden square off again, here, on LARRY KING LIVE.
Six years ago today, the deaths of Mr. Goldman and Mrs. Simpson, of course, caused a furor that led to six years of what is still the most talked-about case in American jurisprudence history: the trial of O.J. Simpson. In that regard, two of the opponents are with us. The only time they've been on together was on June 2nd when we had them for six minutes on our anniversary show. Tonight, they're here for the whole hour.
Here in Los Angeles is Christopher Darden. He's now in the private practice of law, in Los Angeles. He was the former prosecutor in this case, one of the prosecutors, of course. And in Chicago, where he filed a case today in Des Moines and hopped over to our studios is Johnnie Cochran, one of the -- he was the lead defense attorney in the defense of O.J. Simpson.
Before we move to the history of trial and cover both of your emotions, what do you guys think -- we'll start with you, Johnnie -- of whether O.J. should or should not take a lie detector test.
F. Lee Bailey was on the show last week and said that in the right circumstances O.J. would take it if someone put up money, and if he's found that he didn't lie, that money would then go to an investigation to find the killer. What do you make of this whole thing?
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, O.J. SIMPSON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think he should not take a lie detector test. I cite as an example what happened to the Ramseys. Those people who are entrenched in their views regarding this case and whether or not Mr. Simpson was guilty or innocent are not going to change based on a lie detector test.
The science has not reached a level, Larry, where it's admissible in criminal courts, and I don't think it's going to change anybody's opinion. I think people need to get on with their lives and put this case behind them. I don't think that'll add to anything at all.
KING: Chris Darden. CHRIS DARDEN, O.J. SIMPSON PROSECUTOR: Well, I can't -- I can't imagine why he would want to take a lie detector test, quite frankly. When we were in the criminal trial, I was told that he had taken a lie detector test and had failed it, quite frankly. So I don't see why he'd want to take a second one.
KING: As a -- when you were prosecutor, was it ever a tool you'd use or suggest?
DARDEN: No, no.
DARDEN: It was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) inadmissible in California criminal courts.
KING: But what about as a tool?
DARDEN: Well, you can use it as a tool, and in fact, there were some negotiations going on between Shapiro and Marcia Clark prior to O.J. Simpson's arrest, as I recall, regarding him taking a lie detector test.
KING: But nothing happened with it, to your knowledge?
DARDEN: Nothing -- nothing happened with it as far as we were concerned. However, he apparently went ahead and took one, along with Shapiro.
KING: Now, Johnnie, did he take one? O.J. -- Bailey said he took one that that -- that Bailey ordered stopped.
COCHRAN: That was my understanding. I wasn't part of the team at that time, Larry. My understanding was that he was hooked up to one, and Bailey from Florida apparently instructed Mr. Shapiro to stop it, because his emotional state, and it was never completed. That's my understanding at any rate.
KING: Last week, Alan Dershowitz -- we taped it; it's going to be on this coming Saturday -- said that he has no belief in the lie detector test, that it is -- it's not a good tool period.
DARDEN: Well, you know, I can't -- I can't disagree with him, quite frankly. It hasn't been established that it's scientifically reliable. So why use it?
KING: And L.A. doesn't use it at all, right? Not admissible.
DARDEN: Just not admissible in criminal courts. Not that people don't use them, because people use them all the time, both in criminal investigations and employers use them.
COCHRAN: Larry, there's always this question of, you know, who administers the test. If you get -- if you conduct the test yourself, as the Ramseys, get your own person, people will be skeptical. It just -- it really doesn't resolve anything. It's not admissible, so it doesn't resolve anything it seems.
KING: Before we get -- look at a little history, Chris -- this is the same question for both of you in reverse concepts, I guess. Chris, is it kind of weird to have been the prosecutor in a case you lost, in which, as we said last week -- and Mr. Bailey agreed -- 95 percent of the public thought you were right?
DARDEN: Well, it is a little strange. Actually, it's very, very strange. But you know, with regard to those 5 percent, that 5 percent of the population that thinks I was wrong, you know, they're very vocal.
KING: You still hear it?
DARDEN: Oh, yes, I still hear it all the time, all the time.
KING: No kidding?
KING: Even though you're a private -- anybody can retain you to be -- I mean, you're a private defense lawyer now. You're not a prosecutor anymore.
DARDEN: Absolutely, though whenever I travel around the country, somebody always walks up to me and says, Mr. Darden, you know, I've always wanted to meet you to tell you that you were wrong about O.J. Simpson. It was the Mafia. It was -- it was Johnnie.
It was -- I don't know. Almost anybody but O.J.
COCHRAN: Thanks, Chris.
DARDEN: Anybody but O.J. Simpson.
KING: And Johnnie, conversely, is it weird to have been the successful defense attorney in a case in which a great majority of the public thinks your side did it?
COCHRAN: Well, you know, I don't know how weird it is, because you had to be there. I mean, you had to look at the evidence. And I guess, from a standpoint of the criminal case, you know, it was a question of whether or not the evidence was proven beyond a reasonable doubt to moral certainty. We thought pretty clearly that it had not been and apparently the jury agreed with us.
And I think one of the reasons, Larry -- and we're seeing that more and more -- had to do with the LAPD and its credibility, you know, what Chris had to work with. And I think if you look back now at some of the things that we said at that time and look what's happening in Los Angeles at this point, you'll better understand that verdict. And now, if you, you know, people can better understand why I think the jury voted the way they did.
KING: But that doesn't take away, Johnnie, from the fact that the public still thinks your guy did it.
COCHRAN: Well, there are a lot of people...
KING: And what effect has that had on you?
COCHRAN: Well, not much. I mean, from that standpoint, you know, I've put the case behind me and have moved on. As you know, I'm practicing law and doing a lot of things, and involved in television.
I'm trying to -- you know, what we tried to do, both sides -- I think Chris and I -- we tried to do the best we could for our client.
How would it be, Larry, if in a courtroom where everybody in America felt one way and you had a job to defend somebody, you have to do the best you could, you know, under the circumstances. And of course, you know, it's more difficult. You'd always like to have everybody agreeing with you. But I think the true test of the lawyer and -- is whether or not you can stand up in the face of some opposition, and you know, and try to hold firm to your position.
KING: Do people still get mad at you, Johnnie, for having defended him?
COCHRAN: Well, I'm sure they probably do. They don't -- they're not nearly as vocal now. It's been six years removed, and I rarely hear anything about that. But I'm sure people have strong feelings. But I think people now have come to realize that, you know, we did our respective jobs, and that's the great part of the American system. You don't have to agree with it. It wasn't a popularity contest. You know, ultimately those 12 jurors were the only ones who had votes. Everybody else had kind of an opinion, but they didn't have a vote.
KING: Were you also aware, Chris, that that's what they were doing, their job?
DARDEN: Well, yes, I was certainly aware that they were doing their job, and I believe that anyone accused of a crime has a right to the best -- best defense possible, certainly hopefully the best lawyers possible. So yes, I respect that, I understand it, and I always have.
KING: Because there were times in this trial -- and we'll get into that -- it got emotional.
DARDEN: Oh yes.
KING: As we go to break, here is the Brown family, by the way, at the site of today, on this sixth anniversary. This was the Brown family at the site of the burial site of Nicole Simpson. And there you see the family.
O.J. Simpson traded angry comments with Denise Brown last week on live TV. He phoned in during his former sister-in-law's appearance on Fox News.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Here now is that tape from Fox News of O.J. calling in when his former sister-in-law was on the air. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FOX NEWS)
DENISE BROWN, VICTIM'S SISTER: You never gave me a penny, O.J.
O.J. SIMPSON, FORMER PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER: No, your family got money from me.
BROWN: You never gave me a penny.
SIMPSON: You're family got money from me.
BROWN: You are the only one -- you and I, we didn't get along. We didn't get along because you couldn't control me. That's why we don't get along.
SIMPSON: I didn't get along because Nicole was afraid you were going to have sex with me. That's why...
BROWN: Oh, please!
SIMPSON: ... we didn't get along. It was Nicole that told me to stay away from you.
BROWN: Oh, please, your ego is really riding a little bit too high, Simpson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Simpson, I want to...
SIMPSON: Why don't I ask...
BROWN: Your ego is just a little too big.
SIMPSON: ... all of my friends about what I just said?
BROWN: Just a little bit too big.
SIMPSON: Why don't (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to Marcus? Why don't I go to Ed McCabe? Why don't I go to all of my friends, Denise...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Simpson.
SIMPSON: ... and ask them is it true or not?
BROWN: Simpson, you are a pig.
SIMPSON: Oh, you didn't have a relationship with every one of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What did you make of that, Johnnie? COCHRAN: Well, if I were there, I would have advised him not to call in. But you know, I guess for over five years, over a five-year, I guess he gets fed up and wants to speak out on occasion. He hasn't done that very much. But I know he gets a lot of requests.
But I think it's better to put this behind him at this point, move on. I mean, his focus has been, you know, looking after those kids, and apparently, the children are doing very well. He has an accommodation with the Brown family, and I think that's very healthy.
I don't think that he and Denise will ever see eye-to-eye in this world, in this century.
KING: I think that's safe to say. What did you make of that call, Chris?
DARDEN: Well, you know, I think that he really shoots himself in the foot when he makes calls like this and when he attacks the victim, the victim's families. He has no right to torment them anymore than he already has. And all it does is, you know, reinvent his image as a murderer and as a butcher, and it reminds people of what people believe he did.
KING: Did you feel justified or did you feel like, "Well, I've had my comeuppance when he lost the civil case"?
DARDEN: No, not at all. Not at all, because in my view, he should not be in a position he is in today whereby he can call Fox News and make these kinds of disparaging remarks to the Brown family. He just shouldn't be there. You know, I represent criminal defendants now. I do appellate work. I visit the prisons. And the prisons are full of guys convicted on far less evidence than the evidence we had against O.J. Simpson. It just isn't fair.
KING: Let's go back a little. Did you two guys -- Johnnie, did you know Chris Darden before all of this?
COCHRAN: I certainly did. I knew Chris. I knew him for some time. And I considered him a friend. And this was always a tough case, when you're trying a case against someone that you have a lot of respect for and a friend. But it's business once you're inside that courtroom, and I respect him even now. As I told you on your show, I have a lot of respect for Chris Darden and I consider him a friend.
DARDEN: Thank you.
KING: Chris, what do you think -- you knew Johnnie, obviously.
DARDEN: Yes, I knew -- I knew Johnnie for a number of years. Tried to get a job in his firm once...
COCHRAN: He referred cases to us in fact.
DARDEN: As a matter of fact, because, you know, he has really set -- set the bar high in terms of black law firms in this country, and certainly, in Los Angeles. So...
KING: Why didn't you hire him, Johnnie? It would have saved you a lot of grief.
DARDEN: Save me a lot of grief.
COCHRAN: I probably should have. If I'd known everything I know now, I would have hired him.
KING: How did you -- how did you come in the case, Chris? This is the same question for each of you. You first, Chris.
The trial had started, right?
DARDEN: Right. The trial had started. Jury selection had started, and I began -- began as the case manager. And I was doing some investigative stuff.
KING: That means you weren't in the courtroom.
DARDEN: Not in the courtroom, looking at the Al Cowlings situation and Simpson's escape from Kardashian's house that day. And then Hodgman sort of came to me, Marcia came to me and suggested that I -- that I join the trial team.
KING: Was that because you were black, do you think? They wanted your visibility in the courtroom?
DARDEN: I don't think it was because I was black. I honestly believe that it was because Hodgman was not well...
KING: He had that heart condition.
DARDEN: ... and knew -- knew he was not well. And he seemed to be under a great deal of stress.
KING: So he could not have continued on and guaranteed his health or anything?
DARDEN: No, he could not have continued, and of course, he wasn't able to continue.
KING: Were you glad? Did you want to get into the courtroom on this?
DARDEN: You know, there was a part of me that wanted to get in on it, of course. If you're a lawyer, you're -- you know, you have a competitive nature, a competitive spirit, and you want -- everybody wants a big case. Every lawyer wants a big case.
KING: Johnnie, how did you come in? COCHRAN: Well, you know, Larry, you may recall, I was working with Tom Brokaw on NBC National News with Ira Reiner. I was actually covering the preliminary hearing. I was a commentator. I mean, I was safe and sound, and you know, talking about it. And I started getting these calls from Mr. Simpson over a period of time.
And I remember, when I first met with Mr. Shapiro about this and then went on for several weeks, and finally I was asked to come in, and I reluctantly, you know, agreed to do this, because I knew what the commitment would be to be involved in a case like this. I had no idea, you know, everything, but I knew would it would be a major commitment, as Chris can tell you. It was like, you know -- this was like this changed our lives for certainly that year and probably forever.
DARDEN: Yes, and you know, I watched Johnnie during that commentary -- during the preliminary hearing, and as the hearing went on, his comments became much more softer toward Simpson.
And I knew -- and I told the prosecutors, I said, "Cochran's coming into this case."
And of course he did.
COCHRAN: You mean -- hey, Chris, you mean I lost my objectivity along the way?
DARDEN: No, you were -- you weren't really saying anything to help or to hurt him, you know. You were just -- you were walking a line there, and I knew you were coming in.
KING: Johnnie, did Bob Shapiro ask you, was he the one who directly said, I want you to come onto this team?
COCHRAN: Well, no, not really.
COCHRAN: It was basically O.J. Simpson. He was calling on his own, but it was with the acquiescence of Bob Shapiro. And finally, you know, I did not come on -- I wouldn't go see Simpson until I got the OK of Bob Shapiro. And then finally, Simpson said, I want him to come in for the trial aspect, Bob -- Bob agreed along with that.
KING: We'll be back with Cochran and Darden. They're part of the -- part -- they're part of the culture. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARDEN: He killed Nicole for a single reason: not because he hated her. He didn't hate Nicole. He didn't kill her because he didn't love her anymore, because in his mind, in his mind, he did. He killed her for a reason almost as old as mankind itself: He killed her out of jealousy. He killed her because he couldn't have her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Johnnie Cochran, what -- what won it for you, in your opinion?
COCHRAN: Well, I think a lot of things. I think probably we had some compelling evidence with regard to the time line. I think that was very helpful. You know, we had -- this was one of those rare cases, Larry, where we could somewhat level the playing field.
You know, in this country, prosecution has a big, big advantage. You know, they have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but they have such great resources.
Chris -- Chris and Marcia were very fine lawyers, and they had like some $10 million to spend and a lot of lawyers on their team. We couldn't match them from a standpoint of dollars, but we had substantial resources to try to do. And I think that helped out a lot.
So we could investigate things, we could run leads down. And I think that helped in the final analysis.
I think the timeline, I think, as the evidence developed. I think the Fuhrman tapes probably helped a lot, you know, locating and finding him out.
Some of those things, I think, helped us.
KING: Why did you lose?
DARDEN: Well, I think for many of the reasons that Johnnie just mentioned. And I think that as trial lawyers, I think that in many, many ways we did a very, very good job, I think, but in some places we fell down, you know. We did the glove thing, I did the glove thing.
Almost immediately when the trial began, we began responding to the defense. You know, we're the plaintiffs. We should be on the offensive, but we were immediately placed on the defensive.
KING: How did you let that happen?
DARDEN: Well, it happened, because, you know, Johnnie withheld a bunch of defense stuff and began an opening statement that included evidence that hadn't been turned over to us, as was required by the penal code. And so we were jumping up and down, and totally angry and upset, which of course led to Hodgman's...
KING: Heart problem.
DARDEN: ... heart problem.
KING: And did Judge Ito, in your opinion, lose control of that trial?
DARDEN: Well, you know, I have nothing negative to say about Judge Ito. I've said bad things about Judge Ito in the past, and you know, I -- I regret a lot of the things that I said about Ito. I think that he -- he was very much like me and like a lot of us.
We were civil servants, and we were caught up in this huge media -- media circus. And you know it wasn't our best day. It wasn't our best trial.
KING: Johnnie, how do you assess Ito?
COCHRAN: Well, you know, I think that Judge Ito -- in that building, it was clear, I think both sides would agree, he was probably the best judge in that building for that trial. I think both sides agree with that.
You know, he was knowledgeable. He'd been in the DA's office. He understood what that case meant to Los Angeles. And I think he did a good job in allowing us to try to get a jury and a fair trial.
I think he tried. I mean, you know, we went back and looked at the rulings. He ruled for the prosecution about, you know, 70 percent of the time. So I mean, it wasn't any great favor for us. But I think he -- you know, Ito tried to be fair. And for those who say he lost control, you know, you know, Ito was presiding over a trial where Los Angeles had seen in our lives, both Chris and I -- we had seen two major riots in our lifetimes stemming from criminal justice issues. And I think that Ito did not want to see another situation.
He wanted to have it open, fair and out there, and I think so in many respects, he let everybody kind of have their say. A tougher judge might have tried to do it differently, but they don't live in Los Angeles. They can make all those comments they want to. But they don't -- they aren't there to see this case.
There was never a case quite like this at that time. So everybody else is like on the sidelines carping: They don't know what they're talking about.
KING: What about television, Chris? What part did it play?
DARDEN: Well, you know, I think it's playing a tremendous part in Mr. Simpson's life, because but for -- but for the television camera I think a lot of people in this country would have simply accepted the verdict, assumed he didn't do it, assumed that there was no way possible that he could have done it. But instead, everyone had the opportunity to see the evidence for themselves and come to their own conclusions
KING: And see what the jury didn't see, too.
DARDEN: Yes, and to see what the jury didn't see. And perhaps, you know, sitting at home away from Los Angeles and away from the circus, perhaps they were able to be a little bit more objective. For us, it was very unnerving. It was very unnerving.
DARDEN: Oh yes, didn't like it, didn't like it at all. And every time that little camera moved and you heard the little motor moving, it caused you to sort of snap back, you know, wake up, snap to attention. And for me, certainly for, you know, the first half of the trial, I was very uncomfortable with it.
KING: Johnnie, did you like it?
COCHRAN: Well, you know, overall I think it's helpful. I mean, I think that we learned a lot. I mean, I think that Americans kind of got a civics lesson. I mean, some of those arguments about the Fourth Amendment, illegal search-and-seizure, the things that we saw with regard to Detective Fuhrman and those kinds of things, they were very helpful. People understand the roles of the party.
I mean, we started -- I don't think people understood that the role of Chris Darden as the prosecutor, you know, to seek justice, and the role of the defense lawyer to represent the defendant. So I think they understood the role, the role of the judge. And people got a chance to see it.
The problem with it was, as Chris will tell, this was an unusual trial, because we had far greater resources, and you know, we could do a lot of things you don't do in the average case, where you see some poor defendant go trundled off to prison, you know. And that's what we're seeing in this country too much of now.
So I think that it was instructive, and I think after a while, as Chris will acknowledge, we kind of forgot the camera -- at least we tried -- and to get that case over. I mean, you're there for a year, Larry. That's a long time.
And you know, and Chris will remember that after a period of time Ito had us coming into court 8 o'clock and going to 5 o'clock, and then we had to come back the next day. I mean, every day, day after day after day. It was tough.
DARDEN: Yes, yes.
KING: Would you work at night, too? You'd finish court and then go work at night preparing for the next day.
COCHRAN: Oh, we -- absolutely.
DARDEN: We had no choice. You had no choice.
COCHRAN: We had to have witnesses -- we had to work at night every night.
DARDEN: And weekends.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back. We're going to include your phone calls.
The -- this tragedy, this murder occurred -- murders occurred six years ago today. This is LARRY KING LIVE.
Tomorrow night, Tom Brokaw and Jim Lehrer will be with us. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARDEN: I always considered the question of race in this case to be a questionable issue, your honor. However, this is the witness' statement, and if a statement is racist, then he is the racist, not me. OK.
COCHRAN: I didn't say...
DARDEN: And clearly -- well, well, but I mean, but that's what you're suggesting, and that's what, you know, has created a lot of problems for my family and myself, statements that you make about me and race, Mr. Cochran.
COCHRAN: Well, you should stop indicating to the court...
JUDGE LANCE ITO: Wait. Wait. I'm about to hold both of you in contempt. We'll take 15.
If I see this conduct again from either of you two...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tough to be rapped by the judge like that, Chris?
DARDEN: Yes, yes, it is tough, because it's sort of -- it sort of makes you lose your stride. You know, you've got to sort of rethink things, how you -- how you want to approach the case and how you want to conduct yourself.
I tend to be very aggressive in a courtroom, but with threats of contempt and the like, you know, it affected...
KING: What did it do to you, Johnnie?
COCHRAN: Well, it did throw us off temporarily. And you know, Chris, it was tough. It was -- that was emotional. That was one of our emotional moments in the trial. You try to refocus and get back, because you're trying to put your case on.
COCHRAN: And you know, basically...
KING: Am I correct, lawyers and prosecutors should not get emotional? Is that correct, Johnnie? Would that be rule one? COCHRAN: That would be a good rule, if you could do that. But that's really hard. I mean, in a case that you're involved in for a year. And there are some real -- there are some real heavy societal issues in this case, and for Chris and I especially, there were some tough issues: you know, issues of race, you know, things like Fuhrman around there. There are some real tough issues.
And so, you know, we were -- we would like to say we were totally uninvolved in that, but we did -- you know, it was hard to -- to always remain as objective as you should be.
KING: Other than animosity toward Mr. Simpson, which I would imagine you still have, do you come out of this with animosity toward anybody else?
DARDEN: Well, no, no. I'd like to think I don't have any animosity toward Simpson, you know, just...
KING: You don't?
DARDEN: I'd like to think not. I mean, he didn't kill -- he didn't kill my loved-ones. There's a lot that he does and says that I don't quite appreciate and sort of makes me want to come to the defense of the families, quite frankly. But I just sort of sit and bear it, and you know, let him do what he's -- what he's going to do.
KING: In a weird perverse way, he made you famous.
DARDEN: Yes, in a weird perverse way, yes, he made me famous.
KING: Johnnie, do you bear any animosity toward anyone?
COCHRAN: No, I don't. I really don't. In fact, one of the...
KING: How about Bob Shapiro, who's been kind of critical of you?
COCHRAN: No, I don't. I mean, I think I understand Bob Shapiro. And I tried to, where he's been critical of me, you know, we tried to overlook some of the things that he did. You know, and we've gone on with our lives. I mean, I wish him all the best. And I don't have time to linger on having bad feelings, Larry.
In fact, one of the things I'd like to say is that on the anniversary of these deaths, these were tragic deaths, and I think that people don't understand that we on the defense felt that very strongly also, because, you know, we do not condone murder, do not condone any conduct like that -- I mean, anti-criminal conduct. As you know, I was assistant DA for L.A. County for a long time.
So I think that people lose sight of that, that one side or the other was in favor of something or the other, and so no, I don't have any bitterness from that standpoint or -- or toward anyone.
DARDEN: You know, and I don't think people realize that, you know -- and Johnnie can speak to this, too -- I think that we know a little bit more about murder than a lot of people, because, you know, we've had people in our families who have been murdered. So we know a little bit about it and we know how people feel about it.
But to be trapped in a courtroom, to be in a cage for a year, you know, in this neverending story of the O.J. Simpson case that just wouldn't end -- day and day after day, I pray end this thing. And you know, and it just wouldn't happen, you know.
KING: Let me get a break and come back. We'll include your phone calls with Chris Darden and Johnnie Cochran on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FEBRUARY 3, 1995)
DARDEN: What did you do after dinner was over?
BROWN: We got up and -- we got up and we walked out. And Nicole was going to go get some ice cream with the kids. And we kissed each other goodbye.
The last thing I told her was that I loved her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE LANCE ITO: That's people's 77.
COCHRAN: It appears that Mr. Simpson seems to be having a problem putting the glove on his hand.
DARDEN: Your honor, (OFF-MIKE)
DARDEN: I would also like to hand Mr. Simpson...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What happened there, Chris?
DARDEN: As you know, I was about to stick a butcher knife in his hand and see if he could hold it, but then I thought better of it.
KING: What did you make of that?
DARDEN: Well, you know, I thought the glove fit. I thought that it fit the way it had fit in photographs that I had seen, and I felt that there was an illusion created by the fact that his fingers are short, even though he has an extra large-sized palm. And I think what adds to the illusion is the latex glove on his wrist, which makes it appear that the glove is farther down on his hand than it really was.
KING: You're saying that glove fit, in your opinion? DARDEN: Well, that's why I say. And all I can tell you is that I'm purely objective, wholly objective, on that issue.
DARDEN: I think it fit well enough.
KING: Did you take a high risk there, Johnnie, and kind of a -- Bailey forced that, didn't he?
COCHRAN: Well, I think Bailey tried to force it. He tried to goad Chris into that, and I think that Chris probably also knew that we would -- we were going to try it on if he didn't do it.
KING: You know what, Johnnie...
COCHRAN: I don't think it fit.
KING: ... you said the last time that Chris got a bad wrap for this.
COCHRAN: Well, I think so in many particulars. I think that he was somewhat goaded on into this, but I think also we would have done it. We did not believe it fit, though. You know, and as I said, I'm probably as objective about this as he is. And, again, this is not exactly like a lie detector tests, but defending upon your view of the case, you know, to us the gloves don't fit. And if it doesn't fit, you must acquit. And that became very clear and a mantra for our part of the case.
DARDEN: Yes, well, you know, I don't -- we had always planned to put the gloves on Simpson, and, you know, it was calculated decision on the part of the prosecution.
KING: And would you say now an error?
DARDEN: Well -- you know, I could point to a hundred errors.
KING: What do you think your biggest mistake was?
DARDEN: Showing up. Should have stayed home, should have went on vacation, should have went fishing, should have married this girl. You know, a lot of things...
KING: Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
DARDEN: Yes, but, you know, there were a number of mistakes. But the bottom line is that, you know, despite the mistakes, I still think the integrity of the evidence still speaks for itself, and I think that there's still enough.
KING: By the way, you both are familiar with it. Is this considered -- if I called L.A. and asked for -- on the murder case of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson, what would they tell me? Where does that stand? What would the police say?
Is that an unsolved murder? What is that?
DARDEN: You know, I don't know -- I don't know what they would say, but I know that at robbery-homicide in the LAPD and in the West L.A. detectives's division, they'll tell you that they caught their man and tried him back in '95.
KING: So they are not looking for anyone.
DARDEN: I don't know, no.
COCHRAN: Well, they might say that, Larry, but we always said that was one of the problems, that they kind of rushed to judgment. They ought to be looking still. I mean, the jury said he was not guilty, so they ought to still be looking. But it depends on who you call, I suppose.
DARDEN: Well, now that you've put him in the -- put him in the shoes, you know, used at the murder scene, the shoes that left the bloody shoe prints, now that you've got him flunking lie detector tests, I can't imagine what more anybody would want, even Johnnie, who is a very, very, very, bright man.
COCHRAN: Well, I...
KING: All right, Johnnie...
COCHRAN: ... wasn't part of the civil case, and I don't know that he flunked a lie detector test, and there's a whole lot of questions about those pictures regarding those shoes, because what I -- and, Chris, you remember -- they searched the world for a receipt where he bought some Bruno Magli shoes, and you know, you guys said everything, and nobody ever found that. And we didn't...
COCHRAN: ... that was not because you didn't try, they were not ever purchased as far as we knew. So that was something we looked at. We weren't in the civil trial, so we don't really know what all happened there and whether or not -- what about those pictures, I really don't know.
KING: Does your client -- did you ever ask your client the question -- some criminal lawyers do, some don't -- did you do it?
COCHRAN: In this case, well, he didn't have to ask. He always -- and everybody who's been a member of the team from then until now, Larry, O.J. Simpson always has said he was innocent of these charges, that he didn't do it, he couldn't do it. He was always -- he's never wavered or varied from that -- ever.
KING: Do you ever have a doubt in your mind, Chris, about this case?
DARDEN: No, no doubt, whatsoever.
KING: We'll take a break, and when we come back we'll include your phone calls for Chris Darden and Johnnie Cochran.
I'm Larry King. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COCHRAN: You've been seeing me for a year. If I put this knit cap on, who am I? I'm still Johnnie Cochran with a knit cap. And if you look at O.J. Simpson over there -- and he has a rather large head -- O.J. Simpson in a knit cap from two blocks away is still O.J. Simpson. It's no disguise, it's no disguise, it makes no sense, it doesn't fit, if it doesn't fit, you must acquit. Good time, Your Honor.
KING: I guess we could say they're two of the most familiar faces in television history worldwide -- Chris Darden and Johnnie Cochran.
Let's take a call.
Staten Island, New York -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, I have a question, for Christopher Darden.
CALLER: I was wondering if you thought the jury was so blinded by Mark Fuhrman's racism that they had to find him the reasonable doubt. I mean, you know, he created so much rage with so many people, and I can't understand why you, as a black man, wouldn't be so angry with him yourself. I mean, you know, even if -- you know, O.J. -- you know, O.J. was to be found -- O.J. was found not guilty, but...
KING: In other words, Whatever he was found...
KING: ... you and Mark Fuhrman.
DARDEN: Well, you know, I was as offended as anybody, quite frankly. And I was offended not only that he had used these epithets, but I was offended that he lied, that he had lied to me, he had lied to our entire team, that he had committed perjury in a case as important as this, and in a case where he knew that his credibility was pivotal if we were going to win the thing.
KING: In essence, is she right? Was he the tuning fork that a juror would have to say, hey, this guy could have planted something?
DARDEN: Well, you know, I've said it before and gotten into trouble by saying it, but I think that when you introduce all of these epithets and things of that nature, that it causes some people to become very emotional.
Fuhrman is a racist... KING: Causes you to become emotional.
DARDEN: Fuhrman is a racist, Fuhrman is a liar, and Fuhrman is a lot of bad things, but Fuhrman is not a farmer. He did not plant evidence in the Simpson case. And, you know, that connection between the lies and the planting was never made, quite frankly. But, you know, when you get a cop up there on the witness stand and you catch him in a lie like that, you know, it undermines everybody's credibility on the prosecution side.
KING: And it was your witness.
DARDEN: Well, he started out being my witness, but in the end, in the end he wasn't my witness.
KING: Johnnie, was it a stretch to say because he may or may not have been a racist he, therefore, would plant the glove?
COCHRAN: No, and that was a theory long before I got on the case, as you know from that "New Yorker" magazine article when Bob Shapiro was the tactician of the case.
Let me tell you what I think the problem was. And if you look -- Larry, if your viewers tonight could listen to those Fuhrman tapes and what he had to say about the LAPD and about planting evidence, about beating people, about lying under oath, about knowing he could get away with it, about how nobody would investigate it, that you were a law unto yourself, and you look at what's happening in Los Angeles now in this whole scandal, it is -- he was part and parcel of exactly what was happening. And we tried to say that.
So those people who felt around the country that that was a stretch, people in L.A. knew that wasn't a stretch. And I think that's what we said earlier. I think that that was a burden that Christopher had throughout this case.
And, Chris, you know, you didn't vouch for him. In fact, that's one of the things that he and I talked about even during trial, because some things you do care about. And I didn't want Chris to take that witness. I don't know if he thought I was sincere about that, but I really did -- I knew that this guy was a bad guy. And at that time I didn't know about those tapes. But once I heard those tapes, Larry, they are so chilling that you can't separate and say he wouldn't plant. He would plant evidence. The question is did he plant in this case. And I think the jury believed that reasonably he could have.
And we're seeing it every day as new cases are being dismissed, criminal cases, murder cases. Because they said before he wouldn't lie in a capital case, but yet he lied in this case. And what did he get for his trouble? He got a $200 fine for committing perjury in a murder case, and that was wrong.
KING: Look at all the cases around the country now, people being tossed, poorly defended, police faking evidence. DARDEN: And that's something that I have always been sensitive to, and I was as a prosecutor. I spent most of my career as a prosecutor trying to weed out cops like this. I didn't prosecute a whole lot of them, but I certainly helped a whole lot of them out of the door, you know, out of those blue uniforms. And to play these tapes in the trial of the century, just a few years after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, oh, perfect.
KING: Johnnie said, though, he told you not to use him.
DARDEN: He told me not to put Fuhrman on, that it would be a mistake for me personally, as an African-American, to put Fuhrman on the stand.
KING: Was he right?
DARDEN: Well, you know, I was harmed anyway. Would I have been harmed anymore in terms of my reputation, in terms of death threats, in terms of the way I was characterized in the press and in the black community? I can't imagine it having gotten much worse than it was.
KING: Johnnie, did Chris get a bad rap?
COCHRAN: Yes, in many respects, yes. I mean, look what Christopher did. Christopher was the prosecutor. He's an honorable man. What he did was honorable in prosecuting this case. He believed in this case. A lot of circumstances came.
I was really sincere about saying about Fuhrman. I thought he was a bad man, and I meant that from my heart. I mean, you don't say that to your adversary in a case, don't take this guy. I thought that it would be better if Marcia took him, and ultimately she did do that. And I did that because I cared. I mean, I really did.
I think that people don't fully understand the roles of the parties. Christopher, make no mistake about it, he did his job. He did it appropriately. And your viewers out there, young African- Americans, need to consider going into prosecutorial positions, need to be on all over the place, because they have -- prosecutors have a lot of power. They need to be in the room so they can bring their background to bear on the whole thing. So I applaud that role, and I used to be in that office myself. So I fully appreciate that.
KING: As we go to break, here's one of the most famous exchanges in legal history, Bailey and Fuhrman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
F. LEE BAILEY, SIMPSON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I want you to assume that perhaps at some time since 1985 or 6, you addressed a member of the African-American race as a nigger. Is it possible that you have forgotten that act on your part?
MARK FUHRMAN, LAPD DETECTIVE: No, it's not possible. BAILEY: Are you, therefore, saying that you have not used that word in the past 10 years, Detective Fuhrman?
FUHRMAN: Yes, that's what I'm saying.
BAILEY: And you say on your oath that you have not addressed any black person as a nigger or spoken about black people as niggers in past 10 years, Detective Fuhrman?
FUHRMAN: That's what I'm saying, sir.
BAILEY: So that anyone who comes to this court and quotes you as using that word in dealing with African-Americans would be a liar, would they not, Detective Fuhrman.
FUHRMAN: Yes they would.
BAILEY: All of them, correct?
FUHRMAN: All of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Port Angeles, Washington -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, I'm a dog trainer and behaviorist, and I was wondering about the role that the dog played in this case. To most people in my circle, because akitas are very loyal and are guardians of families, we think it's very clear that the dog would have guarded Nicole Simpson, unless it was confused because it was another family member who was attacking her. And I was just wondering if that ever came up or was disregarded as defense?
COCHRAN: Well, I think we looked very closely. In fact, in your earlier package I saw it. I presume that was the same Akita, Kato, at that point. We took a real hard look at this whole issue. I think the evidence was that dog ran down the walk way with bloody paws and ran away. The evidence, I think...
KING: Why would it run away, though?
COCHRAN: You know, it wasn't clear. But clearly the killer went out the back gate, as I believe -- I think that was the prosecution's position. So there wasn't anything that really assisted us. There were a lot of behavioral people who came forward and said we should bring the dog into court and see who he would -- would he growl, would he do all these things. But that wasn't going to -- it's clear, as Chris said, you know, it was enough of a circus as it was. We couldn't really do that, so it was tough.
KING: Chris, was the dog a factor in your thinking?
DARDEN: No, no, the dog wasn't much of a factor at all. The dog would have probably come into court and bitten me or something. KING: With your luck.
DARDEN: Yes, my luck, the luck I was having, yes.
KING: San Francisco -- hello.
CALLER: Yes, my question is for Mr. Cochran. If you thought O.J. was innocent, why didn't you put him on the stand to prove his innocence?
KING: Why didn't he take the stand?
COCHRAN: Because we didn't think it was necessary at that time. To answer that question, we had fully intended to put him on the stand. And what happened, in September we had lost 10 of 12 alternates. We had only two left. And one of them may -- the final African-American male on that jury had said if we didn't finish that case by the end of September, he was going to leave also. We were going to lose other jurors. We didn't want a mistrial, so we had to either finish the case or run the risk of dragging it on.
If O.J. Simpson had gotten on the stand, he would have been up there for another month at least -- I think Chris would acknowledge that for he and Marcia. So we had to make that tactical decision. It turned out to be the right one.
DARDEN: Yes, and it was the right one because by end of the trial our position was that our only hope was if O.J. Simpson took the stand.
KING: And would he have been on the stand that long?
DARDEN: No, you know, I figure in two, three days I could carve him up like a Christmas turkey.
KING: Houston, Texas -- hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: I have a two-part question. First for Mr. Darden, was anyone ever seriously looked at other than O.J. Simpson, specifically his son Jason or A.C. Cowlings? And then for both attorneys, do you believe trials now are more about loopholes and posturing than they are about the truth?
KING: Chris, was there other suspects?
DARDEN: Well, no. There were no other suspects. Jason and A.C. Cowlings both had alibis, quite frankly. And as I've said a million times before, all the evidence pointed to Simpson and not to anyone else.
KING: All right. Johnnie, what about the second part?
COCHRAN: Well, second part, let me say something about the first part. I think that was one of the problems. They probably should have looked at other people, too, along the way.
As for the second part, a famous lawyer once said that a trial, more than a search for truth, is an attempt by all the parties to win. And you know who said that? The great Clarence Darrow. I'd like to hope that it's hopefully a search for justice and not just loopholes and things, but what you do is you use everything at your command in the search for justice. You -- there are certain rules, the Constitution. Somebody might call that a loophole, but the Fourth Amendment is not a loophole, really. So you use everything you can. You try to win, but hopefully you try to win fairly and squarely.
KING: Does it become a want-to-win, Chris?
DARDEN: Well, yes, I think it becomes a want-to-win. Nobody would want to lose, you know, the trial of the century...
KING: But that doesn't mean...
DARDEN: ... and no lawyer wants to lose in court.
KING: ... if someone brought you evidence linking someone else to this, you wouldn't have tossed it aside because you want to win this so much?
DARDEN: No, absolutely not. I would have followed it up.
KING: We'll take a break...
COCHRAN: And I agree with that.
KING: You do agree. There's no question in your mind...
COCHRAN: I agree...
KING: ... Chris would have done that.
COCHRAN: There's no -- absolutely no question he would have done that.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with our remaining moments and talk about the effect of this on both their lives and what now.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARDEN: We came here in search of justice. You will have to be judges, I expect, as to whether or not any of us found it today. But I'm not bitter and I'm not angry.
I'd also like to thank the lawyers on our prosecution team. I am honored to have...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Springfield, Ohio -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, I just wanted to know what you thought of Marcia Clark and the job she did in the trial. And I think, Christopher, you did a great job.
DARDEN: Thank you.
KING: Chris, Marcia?
DARDEN: I think that she did everything that she could to, you know, to win the case. I think she's a good lawyer.
COCHRAN: Good lawyer, quick on her feet, very smart, very agile. You know, very, very able -- no question about it. The prosecution team was very good, believe me, very good.
KING: So you think, Johnnie, they get a bad wrap when they blame them for losing this?
COCHRAN: I mean, there are many particulars. I mean, there are a lot of factors in that courtroom. And I think that, you know -- I don't think they lost, I think we won. But I think that they -- but there were some reasons for that that they get a bad wrap for, and I want to, of course, set record straight on that, Larry. I really do.
KING: Levittown, New York, hello.
CALLER: Him I have a question for Johnnie Cochran.
CALLER: I'd like to know if he thinks O.J. would have been found not guilty if he had to use a public defender.
COCHRAN: Absolutely not. If the -- that's what we talked earlier about, leveling the playing field. And I think what happens is we see that too very often in this country. In fact, on the front page of today's "New York Times" looks at the number of cases of people in death penalty cases where they're reversed because of, you know, poor lawyering, prosecutors who don't care, who hide evidence. I mean, you should read this new report that's out from Columbia University. It's frightening about our justice system. There's not adequate resources.
The one thing that Simpson had on his team, we had resources -- not to match the prosecution but to somewhat level the playing field. And that's what we need in this country to make it fairer for the people you never hear about out there, who are out there, who are also presumed to be innocent.
KING: And some public defenders are better than some private attorneys.
DARDEN: Yes, absolutely. There's some great public defenders. But I think they had more than just resources. I think they had their reputations. And I think it takes a Cochran and a Bailey to attract a guy like Henry Lee and cause him to come out from Connecticut and serve on the defense team.
KING: In other words, your reputation goes farther than just being a good lawyer?
DARDEN: Yes, and it means more than just money sometimes.
KING: Johnnie, we only have about, I guess, a minute here and 30 seconds each. What's all this done to you?
COCHRAN: Well, I mean, it's changed my life. You know, you can't go anywhere without being noticed. I have this great opportunity to practice law all around the country now. I've got some great partners. I practice in New York with a firm called Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek & Shoot. I still am able to practice with Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, and I've got wonderful partners. So I'm able to dispense justice, or try to, around the country. You don't have a lot of privacy, Larry, you know...
COCHRAN: ... but, you know, so it's changed our lives forever.
KING: Chris, you're in the private practice of law?
DARDEN: Yes, I'm in the private practice of law, but...
KING: By yourself, right?
DARDEN: By myself. But it isn't about me. You know, certainly today isn't. It's all about the Goldmans and the Browns. And, you know, I can't let the opportunity pass without again offering my condolences to them. Sorry we didn't get him when we had the chance, and, you know, I know it's a tough day for them, like it always is for families of murder victims on a day like today. And I just I hope they get through it.
KING: Did you get very close to them during the trial?
DARDEN: Yes, yes, and that's one reason that I broke down the way I did at the end -- at the press conference. They were there, and they were crying. And I was really, really, you know, hurt.
KING: Yes -- for them.
DARDEN: For them, yes.
KING: Thank you both very much.
Johnnie Cochran and Christopher Darden six years later. The murder occurred on this date, and the trial ended on October 3, 1995, about 16 months later.
Stay tuned for CNN NEWSSTAND. We'll see you tomorrow night with Tom Brokaw and Jim Lehrer.
And on Thursday night, Peter Jennings. All that's left is, what, Rather?
Thanks for joining us. Good night.
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