American Crime Story is a television show currently airing on FX. The first season of the show is entitled, "The People v. O.J. Simpson," and consists of ten episodes. The show is based on the book, "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson" by Jeffrey Toobin. It stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran. The show begins on the night of the murders.
Nearly 21 years ago O.J. Simpson went on trial in the "most high-profile criminal trial in U.S. history." 140 million people tuned in to watch the jury verdict or listened to it on the radio. Prior to O.J. Simpson's arrest and trial he was well known for very different reasons. He played pro-football for the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. Simpson was also well known for his film and television role including Roots, The Towering Inferno, and The Naked Gun trilogy. In addition, Simpson had a number of endorsement deals for comparison like Hertz and Pioneer Chicken. Simpson married Nicole Brown in 1985. In 1989 Simpson plead no contest to a spousal abuse charge. After 7 years of marriage Brown filed for divorce in 1992.
The murders occurred two years later, on June 12, 1994. Brown and waiter Ron Goldman were both stabbed to death in front of Brown's Brentwood condo. Goldman had been returning a pair of sunglasses to Brown that Brown's mother had left at the restaurant he worked at, Mezzaluna. Their bodies were discovered several hours later by a neighbor. From the evidence, the police suspected Simpson was responsible and sought an arrest warrant for the former NFL player. Five days later, on June 17, 1994 Simpson was supposed to turn himself in to the police but failed to show up. He finally surrendered after leading police on a slow-speed chase in his White Bronco. This chase was watched on television by some 95 million people.
Simpson was charged with the murders of Brown and Goldman. Simpson plead not guilty to the charges. The trial was televised over the course of 133 days,lasting from January 24, 1995 to October 3, 1995. The judge presiding over the case was Judge Lance Ito. Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden were the prosecutors in the case. Simpson was represented by the media dubbed "dream team" including: Robert Shapiro, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Kardashian, Alan Dershowtiz, Barry Sheck, and Johnnie Cochran, among others. The prosecution offered witnesses and evidence to prove Simpson's guilt including the infamous bloody glove. The defense offered testimony showing Simpson was not responsible for the murders and refuted the reliability of the prosecution's evidence including showing the LAPD officer Mark Fuhrman had lied about having used a racist term in the past. The case was submitted to the jury on September 29, 1995. After deliberating for less than four hours the jury announced they had reached a verdict. On October 3, 1995 Simpson was found not guilty.
Many years later the public is still fascinated with the O.J. Simpson case. On the twenty year anniversary of the murders news outlets like ABC ran stories looking at where all the key players in the trial were. Prosecutor Marcia Clark stopped practicing law and became an author. Robert Shapiro founded legal self help website Legal Zoom. Barry Sheck became a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Simpson himself went on to lose a civil case brought by the Brown and Goldman families. In 2007, he was arrested for an armed robbery in Las Vegas and was charged with various counts. Simpson was convicted and on December 5, 2008, he was sentenced to 33 years in jail. He will be eligible for parole in 2017.