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Where are they now? Key players in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson

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The June 12, 1994, killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman brought what was dubbed the "Trial of the Century," which culminated with O.J. Simpson's acquittal of the murders.

The announcement Thursday that Simpson is dead brought renewed attention to the closely watched trial and the fascinating cast of characters who played a role in the case.

Here's a look at where they are now.

The defendant

Two years after Simpson's 1995 acquittal, a civil court jury found him liable for the deaths of his ex-wife and Goldman, and ordered he pay their survivors $33.5 million. He got into a series of minor legal scrapes, ranging from a 2001 Florida road-rage incident to racing his boat through a protected Florida manatee zone in 2002. He was acquitted for the former and fined for the latter.

His most serious transgression came in 2007, however, when he and five others barged into a Las Vegas hotel room with guns and seized property from memorabilia dealers that Simpson claimed to own. He served nine years in a Nevada prison and was paroled in 2017. In recent years, Simpson lived quietly in Las Vegas, where he played golf and sometimes posed for selfies with those still enamoured with his celebrity.

He died Wednesday from prostate cancer.

The victims' families 

Ron Goldman's sister, Kim, was 22 and broke into sobs when the not-guilty verdict was read. Since then, she counselled troubled teens as executive director of a Southern California-based nonprofit, The Youth Project, until it closed during the pandemic. A best-selling author and public speaker, Goldman also has launched several podcasts including "Confronting: OJ Simpson" and, most recently, "Media Circus."

Fred Goldman, Ron's father, has relentlessly pursued Simpson through civil courts, maintaining it is the only way to achieve justice for his son. Goldman's family has seized some of Simpson's memorabilia, including his 1968 Heisman Trophy as college football's best player that year. The family has also taken the rights to Simpson's movies, a book he wrote about the killings and other items to satisfy part of the US$33.5 million judgment that Simpson refused to pay.

Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, has remained the family's most outspoken critic of Simpson, although like the Goldman family, she refuses to speak his name. The former model has become a victims' rights advocate and a speaker, urging both women and men to leave abusive relationships. She said she has moved past her anger with God for the killings but has never forgiven Simpson, and will not watch any films or documentaries about the killings.

The legal dream team

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Simpson's lead attorney, died of brain cancer in 2005 at 68. His refrain to jurors -- "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" -- sought to underscore that the bloody gloves found at Simpson's home and the crime scene were too small for the football legend when he tried them on in court. After the trial, that line became a national catchphrase. Following the trial, Cochran expanded his law firm to 15 states and frequently appeared on television. He also became the inspiration for Jackie Chiles, the bombastic lawyer character on the TV sitcom "Seinfeld."

Another key part of the defence team, Robert Kardashian, died of esophageal cancer in 2003 at age 59. A longtime friend of Simpson's, he renewed his law licence specifically to represent him in the trial. Between the time of the murders and his arrest, Simpson stayed in Kardashian's home. When Simpson fled authorities in a white Ford Bronco on June 17, 1994, Kardashian read to reporters a rambling message Simpson had left behind as a historic freeway chase unfolded on national television. Since his death, Kardashian's fame has been eclipsed by that of ex-wife Kris, and children Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob, thanks to their reality TV show, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

Robert Shapiro, the first member of Simpson's defence team, continues to practice law. In 2005, he created a foundation that grants college scholarships to 11- to 18-year-olds for staying sober after his 24-year-old son died of an overdose.

Barry Scheck was the lawyer who introduced DNA science to jurors and undermined the prosecution's forensic evidence by attacking the collection methods. He and fellow defence lawyer Peter Neufeld co-founded The Innocence Project in 1992. It uses DNA evidence to exonerate people who were wrongly convicted.

F. Lee Bailey was the lawyer who played a key role in exposing racist statements made by one of the prosecution's key witnesses, police detective Mark Fuhrman, which undermined his credibility. When he joined the defence team, Bailey was already famous for his role in some of the most high-profile cases of the 20th century, including that of heiress-turned-bank-robber Patricia Hearst. Bailey was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida in the early 2000s for misconduct in handling a client's case. He died in 2021.

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor emeritus, also helped Simpson get an acquittal and consulted on the scientific aspects of the case. Since then, he courted controversy by helping the late hedge fund manager and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein win a lenient sentence for abusing underaged girls. He was also part of former U.S. president Donald Trump's impeachment defence team that ended with his acquittal.

The prosecutors

Marcia Clark, the trial's lead prosecutor, quit law after the trial, although she has appeared frequently over the years as a TV commentator on high-profile trials. She was paid $4 million for her 2016 memoir, "Without a Doubt," and has gone on to write a series of crime novels.

Chris Darden, the co-prosecutor, was criticized for having Simpson try on the bloody gloves in the courtroom without first ensuring they would fit. He is now a defence attorney himself. He represented the man charged with killing hip-hop mogul Nipsey Hussle before withdrawing from the case, saying his family had received death threats. Darden has also taught law, appeared on television as a legal commentator and wrote about the Simpson trial in the 1996 book, "In Contempt." Currently, he is running for Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.

The judge

Lance Ito retired in 2015 after presiding over approximately 500 trials. Simpson's trial made him such a household name that "The Tonight Show" briefly featured a comedy segment called "The Dancing Itos," in which lookalikes performed in judicial robes. After the Simpson trial he had to remove his name plate from his courtroom door because people kept stealing it. Ito has never discussed the trial publicly, citing judicial ethics.

The houseguest

Brian "Kato" Kaelin, a struggling actor living in a guest house on Simpson's property, testified he heard a "bump" during the night of the murders and went outside to find Simpson in the yard. Prosecutors later said Kaelin's testimony showed Simpson was sneaking back home after the killings. Mocked on talk shows as America's most famous houseguest, Kaelin has gone on to appear on reality shows, as well as in small parts in TV sitcoms and films, and to launch a loungewear clothing line.

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