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Where are they now? Key players from the OJ Simpson murder trial

It was a double murder that shocked the world and, at least technically, remains unsolved two decades later.

On June 12, 1994, police found the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman outside Simpson’s Bundy Drive condo in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. Almost immediately, suspicion focused on the 35-year-old beauty’s ex-husband -- football legend, actor, pitchman and all-around household name O.J. Simpson.

By the time a jury of nine blacks, two whites and one Hispanic delivered a not-guilty verdict more than two years later, dozens of people had become famous, new phrases had been introduced to the public lexicon and the nation’s long-simmering racial divide had been opened wide.

Here’s a look at where some of the major players in what was called “the trial of the century” are now:

  • O.J. Simpson – although the jury took his attorney’s advice that “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” the Buffalo Bills legend-turned-movie star is nonetheless behind bars. Simpson, who was found responsible for the deaths of Goldman and his ex-wife in a civil case, was later convicted of armed robbery in a Las Vegas incident. He and several accomplices, including former NFL star C.J. Stewart, stormed into the hotel room of two memorabilia dealers and robbed them at gunpoint for various autographed souvenirs, which Simpson insisted were stolen. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison, and an appeal was recently denied. Some have speculated that the harsh sentence was payback for his earlier acquittal.
  • Johnnie Cochran – The lead attorney on Simpson’s “Dream Team,” who used folksy charm and simple rhymes to win over the jury – and earn his client’s freedom -- continued his successful career in private practice for another decade. Cochran founded his own firm, defending high-profile clients like Sean Combs and NYPD brutality victim Abner Louima until his death of a brain tumor in 2005.
  • Robert Shapiro -- Another key member of Simpson’s legal team, Shapiro later expressed regret about the defense’s invocation of race in the trial, saying they dealt the race card “from the bottom of the deck.” Shapiro went on to co-found LegalZoom, a website that aims to offer affordable online legal services and documentation.
  • F. Lee Bailey – the legendary courtroom brawler who had once represented the Boston Strangler, loaned high-profile cachet even to a group as esteemed as the “Dream Team.” Bailey, now 81, continued to work as a defense attorney after the Simpson trial until 2003, when  revelations of attorney misconduct led to his disbarment in the state of Florida and reciprocal disbarment in Massachusetts. Bailey’s re-application for a law license in the state of Maine was denied in 2012.
  • Alan Dershowitz – the legendary Harvard professor who had previously won acquittal for Claus Von Bulow, in another high-profile case, recently retired as a professor. He continues to work as a legal adviser and is a prominent activist for Israeli sovereignty and animal rights.
  • Robert Kardashian – an LA businessman and close friend of Simpson, Kardashian reactivated his legal license to help out with his friend’s case. He died of esophageal cancer eight years after the Simpson trial, but his three daughters made him even more famous posthumously, ascending to reality TV stardom as a result of their show, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," and near-constant presence on the covers of magazines and tabloids.
  • Marcia Clarke – A Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, Clarke was thrust into the role of taking on a team of highly paid legal eagles to take down a beloved icon. After another two years in the DA’s office, she went on to become a successful novelist and a correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight.” Her most popular book, “Without a Doubt,” co-authored with nonfiction writer Teresa Carpenter, is a vivid retelling of the Simpson trial that insists on Simpson’s guilt and blames the ineptitude of the judge, jurors and witnesses, and the unethical behavior of the defense team, for his acquittal.
  • Christopher Darden – Clarke’s co-prosecutor ended up leaving the district attorney’s office shortly after the trial’s conclusion. He went on to do humanitarian work for domestic abuse victims and the families of homicide victims, while also working as a professor at the Southwestern University School of Law, in Los Angeles, and founding his own firm, Darden & Associates Inc., in 1999. In 2012, Darden made headlines by accusing Johnnie Cochran of tampering with the seams of the infamous bloody glove
  • Lance Ito – An LA Superior Court judge long before he was handed the case that would define his career and make him an object of derision in many legal circles. Many critics say his decision to allow evidence that LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman had once uttered the “N-word,” albeit in a discussion with a screenwriter about a script, inflamed the jury and tilted the case in Simpson’s favor. Ito still presides at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, despite some vehement criticism that came his way in the wake of the Simpson trial.
  • Kato Kaelin – Ridiculed as a surfer-dude freeloader who lived with Simpson at the time of the murders, Kaelin ended up bringing little insight to the case with his digressive and contradictory testimony. He went on to become a self-deprecating television journeyman, appearing on sketch comedy programs like MadTV, hosting National Lampoon programs, and participating in various reality and game shows.
  • Al Cowlings -- A former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle who played with Simpson, drove the white Ford Bronco in Simpson’s widely televised slow-speed chase with police, has receded into obscurity. His last media encounter occurred in 2007, when TMZ spotted him outside a Beverly Hills restaurant.
  • Denise Brown -- The sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, she gave heartfelt testimony about Simpson’s abuse of her sister prior to the murders and went on to co-found the Nicole Brown Foundation with her father, Lou Brown. The non-profit foundation works to raise money and create a safe community for domestic abuse victims. Until recently, she also hosted an Internet Radio show that focused on the plight of women in America.
  • Greta Van Susteren -- A criminal defense and civil trial lawyer, Van Susteren served as a legal correspondent for CNN during the Simpson trial. Her no-nonsense delivery of keen legal insight earned her positions as co-host of CNN’s "Burden of Proof" and "The Point," and she currently hosts the top-rated Fox News Channel show “On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren,” which airs weeknights at 7 p.m.
  • Fred Goldman – The father of the “other” murder victim, Fred Goldman remains vocal about his grief for the loss of his son Ron and his dissatisfaction with the verdict. Yesterday, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Ron’s murder, he appeared on NBC’s "Today" show to discuss the historic trial. “The loss is exactly the same,” he lamented. “Nothing has changed.”
  • Mark Fuhrman, the former U.S. Marine and LAPD detective, who testified for the prosecution about finding a blood-stained glove at the crime scene and a matching glove on Simpson’s property, has gone on to write several best-selling books about high-profile murders. A Fox News contributor for his expertise in criminology, Fuhrman remains bitter about how the case turned out.

In addition to being painted as a racist, Fuhrman was accused by the defense of planting the glove.  He left the LAPD in 1995, after 20 years on the job, and now resides in Idaho where he writes and consults. Although his post-O.J. career has brought success, Fuhrman says the trial was a travesty.

 “Nothing good came out of it,” Fuhrman said. “Nobody was served any justice. If we had let the facts and forensic evidence speak for itself, the people of America would have justice, and we wouldn’t be talking.”

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