Theatrical Finale Sends 5-Month Simpson Case to Jury

By Ap | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Theatrical Finale Sends 5-Month Simpson Case to Jury


Ap, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


O.J. Simpson's fate was placed in the hands of a jury Tuesday after a final theatrical flourish from the plaintiffs' attorney.

The panel deliberated two hours before quitting for the night.

The jurors must decide whether Simpson should be held responsible and made to pay compensation for the attacks on Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994. Simpson has been acquitted of killing them. Some jurors took notes as Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki explained in his instructions that Simpson is not being subjected to double jeopardy: "Even though the defendant Simpson was acquitted in the criminal case, you can still find him liable." In his final words to the jury, plaintiffs' attorney Daniel Petrocelli responded to defense claims that the wrongful death claim was baseless and that anyone can file such a suit by paying a $200 fee. He took out some bills and waved them in front of Simpson. "In their zeal to get your verdict, have they become so insensitive to the greatest of human tragedies, the loss of life . . . that they tell you it costs $200 to file a lawsuit?" Petrocelli said. "Mr. Simpson, here's $200. Give . . . my client back his son!" Simpson's lawyer, Robert Baker, rose from his seat and yelled back: "Give it up! Give it up!" "Give my client back his son and we will march out of here in a heartbeat!" Petrocelli raged. Simpson showed no reaction. Petrocelli's stirring end to the five-month case came after nearly five days of closing arguments. A Delay For Jurors As the court day began, the case was delayed by an hour because of an undisclosed jury problem. Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said some jurors had been contacted by a person or agency offering to represent them in media deals after the trial. Jurors brought the matter to the judge's attention, and the judge interviewed all the panelists without dismissing any of them. Once jurors returned to their seats, the plaintiffs unleashed a final volley of invective against Simpson. …

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