OJ puts up his fortune to clear name

THE American football hero, O J Simpson was arraigned yesterday on murder charges which he is preparing to fight with one of the toughest and most costly legal teams assembled for a criminal case in the United States. In a brief hearing, the former Buffalo Bill and part-time actor robustly told Los Angeles Superior Court that he was 'absolutely one hundred per cent not guilty' of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and an aspiring male model, Ronald Goldman.

The court appointed a supervising judge, Lance Ito, to preside over what is shaping up as one of the biggest murder trials in US history. Mr Ito, 43, presided over the 1991 trial of financier Charles Keating, whom he jailed for 10 years for swindling investors in the savings and loans scandal. No final hearing date was set, but it is becoming clear that Mr Simpson is willing to sacrifice his estimated dollars 10.8m ( pounds 7.06m) fortune in his quest to be acquitted. Few observers of what has become an American obsession believe that he will have much left when it ends.

The latest recruit to a cast of characters which is beginning to outclass Colombo and LA Law is Johnnie Cochran, LA's leading black lawyer. He recently made headlines when - at the request of Elizabeth Taylor - he helped broker the out-of-court settlement between her friend Michael Jackson and the 14-year-old boy who accused the entertainer of sex abuse.

Until recently, Mr Cochran was better known for representing black victims of police abuse, although he also acted for Reginald Denny, the white truck driver who was beaten by young blacks at the start of the LA riots, and Snoop Doggy Dogg, the black rapper accused of involvement in a killing.

A second new arrival to the O J camp is John McNally, who will head the crew of investigators hired to dig over the case in minute detail. Mr McNally is a gumshoe of some renown. In 1964, he successfully tracked down 'Murph the Surf', the jewel thief who stole the Star of India sapphire from New York's Museum of Natural History.

Fifteen years later, he was again in the public eye when federal prosecutors accused him of being part of the 'security department' surrounding the younger brother of the mobster, John Gotti. The sleuth dismissed the allegation as government 'paranoia'.

Mr McNally had close ties with the Simpson camp before he was drafted in, and has worked with Alan Dershowitz, one of America's most wily defence lawyers. Mr Dershowitz has represented the ex-world champion boxer Mike Tyson in his (failed) appeal against his rape conviction, fought on behalf of tax-dodging Leona Helmsley, and advised Angela Davis, the American Communist leader who was acquitted of murder in 1972. His most notable case - later made into the movie Reversal of Fortune - was that of Claus von Bulow, the aristocrat accused of murdering his rich wife by injecting her with insulin. Mr Dershowitz waged a fierce legal battle, in which Mr Von Bulow's conviction was overturned.

The public head of O J's legal team is Robert Shapiro. He, too, has an intriguing track record. He has successfully defended the porn star, Linda Lovelace, on drug charges, and negotiated a plea bargain for Marlon Brando's son, Christian, when he was accused of murder. He is being assisted by F Lee Bailey, the celebrated trial lawyer who defended the millionaire heiress Patty Hearst in the mid-1970s, although his role is believed to be fairly minor.

O J's team have already been hard at work, setting up a free phone number for tips which has been inundated with calls. It has not escaped the notice of some that O J's wealth has secured him services that almost no other defendants can afford.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam