OJ's lawyer beats his rival again

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The Independent Online
RUPERT CORNWELL

Washington

He beat her in court and now Johnnie Cochran has bested Marcia Clark in the book-deal sweepstakes. The fast-talking attorney who secured the acquittal of OJ Simpson has won a book contract for "slightly" more than the $4.2m (pounds 2.8m) advance obtained by Ms Clark, the lead prosecution lawyer.

"Let's just say we won again," the Los Angeles Times quoted a friend of Mr Cochran's remarking about the contract for his memoirs, to be published in 1997 and reportedly titled My Journey to Justice: The Autobiography of Johnnie Cochran Jr.

The book will be published by Ballantine's One World, a specialist in books about black Americans. "I want to remind people that the battle for justice is never-ending and that one person can make a difference," the newspaper was told by Mr Cochran, who will be in Britain this weekend to address a conference of black lawyers.

The deal lifts the literary lucre from the trial to even more stratospheric levels. The Clark and Cochran deals are among the biggest advances paid for non-fiction, apart from General Colin Powell's $6.5m and General Norman Schwarz-kopf's $5m. Robert Shapiro and Christopher Darden, defence and prosecution attorneys also in the Simpson case, have each received $1.5m advances for books of their own.

The only person not to benefit thus far is Mr Simpson. His reported post-trial pickings are a mere $500,000, from photo rights to his homecoming party after his acquittal.

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