Published February 19, 2012
Eighteen years ago football legend O.J. Simpson went on the lam in a white Ford Bronco and forever changed the lives of a handful of legal eagles.
The drama inside the courtroom during the lengthy O.J. Simpson murder trial was more riveting than anything we now watch on reality television, which is why many the players became breakout stars in their own right.
Heck, perhaps tellingly, one of them was even a Kardashian!
Let's start with the prosecution. Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark was vilified following Simpson's acquittal. The attorney who introduced into evidence blood smears in Simpson’s car and the infamous "one bloody glove" was later accused of botching the trial by Nicole Brown’s family, and was picked apart and lampooned by the media during the trial for everything from her hair to her makeup to her style of dress.
The National Enquirer even ran an old topless photo of her.
Clark says the entire process burnt her out big time. In the decade and a half following the trial, she jumped between jobs, working on legal television and radio shows. She wrote scripts for a television drama featuring the Los Angeles DA's office and also continued to work as an appellate attorney.
Later, Clark started writing novels -- legal thrillers about a tenacious DA named Rachel Knight. She published her first legal thriller, “Guilt by Association,” last year and her second,“Guilt By Degrees,” is due out in May. But Clark doesn’t give the Simpson trial any kudos for giving her second career a launch pad (though she did get a reported $4.2 million for her 1997 memoir of the trial, "Without a Doubt").
“It's been 16 years since the verdict. If I'd intended to use the Simpson trial as a platform, I would've jumped on the novelist train a little sooner," Clark told Fox411. "And I never intended to change career paths. When I became a prosecutor, I meant to be one for life. It didn't quite work out that way. But you know what they say, ‘Man plans and God laughs’."
Clark is working on the third installment in her book series, “Guilt By Ambition,” and there is talk of turning the novels into a television series.
“I don’t think they’re going to let me play Rachel though,” Clark said.
Of the defense "Dream Team" of Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian, Robert Shapiro and F. Lee Bailey, only two are still alive.
Kardashian, sire of the notorious reality TV family, died of esophageal cancer in 2003 at the age of 59. His words have recently surfaced from beyond the grave in a series of court filings from his 1999 divorce from Kris Jenner in which Kardashian reveals that he caught his ex-wife cheating on him with another man.
Following the Simpson circus, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, he of the famous phrase “If it doesn’t fit you must acquit," went on to represent Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, winning him an $8.75 million settlement in his police brutality case against New York City. He also won an acquittal for rap mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs in his 2001 stolen weapons case. Cochran died in 2005 from a brain tumor. Combs, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Stevie Wonder, Magic Johnson and Simpson himself attended the funeral.
Robert Shapiro, who has gone on to represent celebs like Lindsay Lohan and Eva Longoria, doesn’t like to talk about how the Simpson trial changed his life. “It’s just something I don’t like to comment about,” the attorney told Fox411.
But since the trial he has been busy, founding the websites LegalZoom.com, an online document preparation service, and ShoeDazzle, the shoe rental site helmed by none other than Kim Kardashian. He is also a partner in the firm Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP.
“My focus now is on business law and civil litigation,” Shapiro told us. He is currently embroiled in a high-profile lawsuit representing Las Vegas hotel and resort Wynn against a disgruntled shareholder.
But Shapiro claims his greatest happiness comes from the work he does with his Foundation, named for his son Brent who passed away from a toxic mixture of drugs and alcohol. The foundation seeks to raise drug and alcohol awareness.
Bailey, now 78, is working as a legal consultant in Maine. Last year he released a 46-page document on his website with what he claimed was new evidence that proved Simpson’s innocence.
But not everyone sought fame and fortune following the trial. Judge Lance Ito, the Superior Court judge who presided over the Simpson trial, is still slogging away in the Los Angeles court system. He tells us his life is pretty much the same as it was 18 years ago.
“I’m still ensconced on the 9th floor of the Downtown LA Criminal Courts Building, trying one long cause/complex criminal matter after another. It’s probably [been] 150-plus jury trials since OJ," Ito told Fox411.com. "I’m married to the same woman [a now retired chief of police], live in the same neighborhood, drive the same car, but looking forward to retirement in the not too distant future."