Looking back at the verdict in the OJ Simpson trial

O.J. Simpson

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Lead defense attorney Johnnie Cochran (R) puts his arm on O.J. Simpson's (C) shoulder after Simpson told Judge Lance Ito Sept. 22, 1995 in Los Angeles that he has faith that jurors would acquit him of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. At left is defense attorney Robert Blasier (L).

A high-profile criminal trial generated live TV coverage and intense interest far beyond its jurisdiction. We’re not talking about the continuing case of Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician to pop star Michael Jackson - here's a looks back to similarly notorious legal proceedings that wrapped up on this day in 1995.

Perhaps you remember where you were when it happened. People made a point of hovering near their TVs and radios when a Los Angeles Superior Court jury indicated that it would announce its verdict in the murder trial of former football star O.J. Simpson.

If the trial of the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King ushered in the age of videotaped evidence, the Simpson trial helped to amplify the trend of true courtroom drama as national obsession. So much so that news organizations stationed reporters and camera crews at locations where representative groups had gathered to tune in for what turned out to be a verdict of “not guilty.”

The lurid facts — a beautiful divorced woman and her male friend stabbed to death, an ex-husband who was an actor, athlete and pitchman as the prime suspect — drew even casual observers into speculation about the nature of American justice, race and gender relations — issues that continue to provoke fascination and debate 16 years later.

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