O.J. Simpson walked away from the murder trial of his ex-wife and her friend a free man 13 years ago. The Las Vegas Review-Journal says legal experts and others said that case followed Simpson into a Las Vegas courtroom and played a role in his conviction Friday on kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges. Simpson’s notoriety also led to the downfall of his co-defendant, Clarence Stewart, 54, who was convicted on all counts in the sports memorabilia heist at Palace Station in September 2007.
Simpson’s past trial, and his well-publicized legal troubles since then, were even more influential in the guilty verdict than the racial makeup of the jury, said John Momot, a Las Vegas-based criminal defense attorney. The jury that decided this case had 10 whites and two Hospiaics but o blacks. “I don’t care if you had 12 African-American jurors. He still would have had the same problems,” he said. “They (jurors) feel he got away with murder. That’s not just in California. That’s universal.” Dr. Philip K. Anthony, a trial consultant from Los Angeles, said even jurors who start out thinking they can be fair or impartial were likely swayed by the negative publicity surrounding Simpson since he was acquitted of murder. In jury questionnaires filled out before the trial and released Saturday, some jurors said they believed Simpson was guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Five of the 12 jurors wrote that they disagreed with the 1995 acquittal.