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The murder trial of football star O.J. Simpson went to the jury on this date in 1995. Jews involved in the case, apart from Ron Goldman, one of the two murder victims, included District Attorney Marcia Clark, who lost the case and then wrote a bestseller about it, and several defense lawyers: Robert Shapiro, who convinced Simpson to surrender to the police; Alan Dershowitz, who served as an appellate adviser; and Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project, who helped cast doubt on the DNA evidence against Simpson. The counter-intuitive verdict of not guilty was widely seen as reflecting the past abuses of the Los Angeles police department — including the fabrication of evidence — against the African-American community. In civil court, however, Simpson was found liable for the deaths of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and in 2008 he was convicted, in a separate incident, of kidnapping and armed robbery. “Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.” --Robert Shapiro
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.