Johnnie Cochran may make his first Colorado courtroom appearance representing the family of slain Denver teenager Paul Childs, the developmentally disabled by shot to death by a Denver police officer nearly two weeks ago.
“His media persona is huge,” Bernard Charbonnet, a New Orleans attorney who has gone to trial against Cochran, told the Denver Post. “His dynamic is that he’s pervasive, he’s all over the country, so people in Denver know him equally as well as people in New Orleans.”
Besides O.J. Simpson, Cochran’s client list includes filmmaker Spike Lee, rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and pop icon Michael Jackson, but also previously unknown names such as Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant whose abuse at the hands of New York cops sparked national outrage.
“He brings instant credibility to a cause,” said Denver lawyer Craig Silverman. “The bottom line is that Johnnie Cochran is known as a winner, and everybody loves a winner. I’d anticipate that if and when this (Childs) case ever goes to trial, he’ll be sitting at the counsel table.”
Lawyers said Cochran’s presence alone could affect the legal machinations of a case. Cochran looms particularly effective before lower- or middle-income jurors, and especially blacks, Charbonnet said. Attorneys facing Cochran also must consider ways to counter his imposing media presence, Charbonnet said. Another lawyer says that Cochran has “star power. It stays with you, and people are taken in by people who are stars or celebrities.”