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OJ's Defense Seems Porous

The Trial of the Century is somewhat less than that

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, July 19, 1995.

The Dream Team of OJ Simpson’s defense swung into action last week, giving a rapid fire succession of witnesses to a bored press and - we are told - jury. Television and print commentators have asked us to be impressed with the professionalism and smoothness of the defense’s case, this as opposed to the prosecution’s. But, if anything, the defense has only under lined the fact that Simpson is as guilty as hell, and that the defense is one compass heading away from claiming the involvement of aliens and Elvis.

Now, if the only people you could mount for a defense were your daughter, mother, lackey, hairdresser, and society doctor, and then these were pretty much destroyed by cross examination, you’d be pretty desperate, would you not? Unless you could count upon the jury being composed of idiots. The defense’s sole strategy was to so compose the jury and then count on boredom and stupidity to so numb the jury that any personable defense would overpower boring prosecution presentations of the compelling facts. They may have succeeded, but if OJ Simpson is not convicted, there ought to be a massive house cleaning in the LA DA’s office.

I suppose I have something of an advantage in viewing Simpson. To many people, he seems too sophisticated, too smooth, and too heroic to be a wife beater, much less a murderer. My insight comes from having been in jail for four months last winter and listening in stunned incomprehension as otherwise normal sounding fellow inmates - in jail for DUI’s or some such - let conversation drift into lands I had never been, telling amusing stories of beating up the wife, girlfriend, and ending each sentence with “Ya Know?” as if being a fellow male, I did. I did not. And the premise of many feminists that many men do indeed inflict violence on women came home to me. Yes, many of the women involved seem to have their own masochistic roles, but how a stronger person can get a feeling of personal worth from slapping around a weaker person eludes me. Yet, there it is. They do. They brag about it. And it was common enough they expected me to not only understand but sympathize.

I heard it again on Simpson’s exercise video where he jokes about smacking the wife around. I’ve heard the tone and content before, and he wasn’t really kidding, and he expected a lot of knowing nods. If the women on the jury missed it, he’ll go free. But I cannot believe they will, and I think OJ Simpson is closer to a conviction than the media, who have a stake in portraying a close fight, would like us to believe.