Posted Sep 10, 2012 11:57 am CDT
A panel discussion at Pace Law School produced some fireworks on Thursday when a former prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial said he believed defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran tampered with the bloody glove.
Former deputy district attorney Christopher Darden told of his suspicions, according to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), spurring denials by other members of the defense team. Cochran died in 2005.
During the 1995 trial, prosecutors had claimed the glove linked Simpson to the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. But when O.J. Simpson tried on the glove before jurors, it was too small, leading to the defense mantra, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
“I think Johnnie tore the lining,” Darden said during the panel discussion. “There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.’s fingers couldn’t go all the way up into the glove.” Later, in a Reuters interview, Darden said a bailiff had told him the defense team had the glove during the lunch hour. “It’s been my suspicion for a long time that the lining has been manipulated,” Darden told the wire service.
Defense team member Shawn Holley denied the allegation in a statement to the Los Angeles Times blog L.A. Now. “Mr. Darden’s self-serving assertion that Johnnie Cochran tampered with the glove—or any piece of evidence—is false, malicious and slanderous,” Holley said.
Another defense lawyer, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, told Reuters that access to evidence is tightly controlled. The claim that the defense obtained the glove is a “total fabrication,” he said.
“Having made the greatest legal blunder of the 20th century,” Dershowitz said of Darden, “he’s trying to blame it on the dead man.”
However, Dershowitz also targeted a dead man at the Pace presentation, according to the Wall Street Journal account. Dershowitz said he was convinced that now-deceased detective Philip Vannatter planted Nicole Brown Simpson’s blood on O.J. Simpson’s sock.