Cochran, Simpson's Savior, Dies

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Double murder charges were filed against Simpson after his ex-wife Nicole Simpson was found with her head almost severed...At the climax of the trial, the prosecution allowed Simpson to try on a pair of gloves that he allegedly wore on the night of the crime. When Simpson struggled to get the gloves on, Cochran uttered the now famous words: "If the glove don't fit, you must acquit." The rest is history.

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., the brilliant lawyer who gained worldwide fame for succesfully defending O.J. Simpson on charges he murdered his ex-wife and a male friend, died today, The Black Star News has learned. Cochran had been gravely ill from a brain tumor and died shortly after midday Tuesday, Pacific Time, people close to the family disclosed and his office confirmed. Cochran died at his home in Los Angeles -- he was 67 years old.

Cochran became legendary when he took the O.J. case and spearheaded what became known as the "dream team," that included famed lawyers F.Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck. After Simpson's acquittal many African Americans celebrated -- there was wide conviction that a flawed criminal justice system that had historically condemed Blacks, including innocent ones, had finally worked the other way. Many whites were dismayed, contending that there had been jury nullification. Ironically, these charges were not made when the actor, Robert Blake, was recently acquitted on charges of murdering his wife; many obervers believed there was evidence showing he did.

Double murder charges were filed against Simpson after his ex-wife Nicole Simpson was found with her head almost severed, with her male friend, Ron Goldman, stabbed to death, on June 12, 1994. The trial lasted several months and was racially charged when a lead witness for the state, Det. Mark Fuhrman, was exposed as a rabid racist who used the N-word as regularly as he used oxygen.

The state boasted a so-called "mountain" of evidence. Cochran, in a calm and calculated manner bulldozed the state's case to shreds. He raised sufficient reasonable doubt by portraying the LA Police Department as a veritable nest of corruption, with officers who were capable of planting evidence against African American defendants. At the climax of the trial, the prosecution allowed Simpson to try on a pair of gloves that he allegedly wore on the night of the crime. When Simpson struggled to get the gloves on, Cochran uttered the now famous words: "If the glove don't fit, you must acquit." The rest is history.

Although Simpson vowed to spend the rest of his life "searching for the real" killer or killers of his ex-wife, he has spent considerable time on the golf course. "I loved him as a good Christian man," O.J. Simpson told CNN, today, referring to Cochran. "I look at Johnny as a great Christian. I knew him as that. He was a great guy."

Cochran received his law degree from from Loyola Marymount University--he attended college at UCLA and was raised in Los Angeles. He launched his private practice, Cochran, Atkins & Evans, in 1965 after two years as an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles. He became famous representing African American who were victims of police brutality. Later, he also represented famous rap stars. He also briefly returned to the LA county DA's office before resuming private practice.
Cochran was born October 2, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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