Why is the OJ Simpson trial still on our radar?

A look into how the monumental trial transcended history

OJ Simpson.
Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky

In a world where TV shows and news channels are constantly reporting on new crimes and horrific murders, there’s one infamous case that’s continued to stay relevant for decades — the OJ Simpson Trial.

After TV shows like The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story and OJ: Made in America debuted in the last couple years, the spotlight seemingly found its way back to Simpson. But the thing is, it never really left.

To quickly summarize the murders and trial: Simpson, a former NFL player, was tried for the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman after they were both found dead in June 1994. Simpson was eventually acquitted of the crime after evidence wasn’t handled properly, and the jury made a decision in just two hours after being sequestered for 101 days.

This was recently brought back to the forefront in the last week when a never-before-seen interview with Simpson from 2006 was released by Fox News on March 11. 

Simpson never admitted to the crime outwardly, but in this interview he details how he may have gone about the murders “if” he was the one who had done it. Here he explains he was annoyed with Nicole Brown Simpson for weeks prior to the murder and stated, “I do remember that I grabbed the knife but after that I don’t remember.” 

This released interview has made the case even more confusing since it either points to Simpson as the killer or is simply a money grab with a planned book release following soon after. Either way, #didOJdoit has been trending on Twitter ever since.

The case of OJ Simpson was one of those trials where most people were sure Simpson was guilty, but thanks to an extremely talented defense team, he was acquitted anyway.

It makes sense that, at the time of the trial, the country was fascinated by it — after all, it was one of the biggest trials of the decade due to the celebrity factor as well as the uniquely gruesome details of the case.

This fascination is apparent though the influx of TV shows and ongoing analyses of the trial. I was born just over two years after the trial concluded, yet I know every detail about the murder, the arrest and the trial.

What makes this specific case so captivating is all in the details. It’s almost hard to remember this was a real event because of how much it resembles a well-planned movie plotline.

The first interesting aspect of this crime story is that it deals directly with race relations. 

Since Simpson was an African-American man, his defense was able to plead his case by claiming he was being unfairly treated because of his race. A large majority of African-Americans at the time were rooting for Simpson to be acquitted because he’d been such an icon for the community. Simpson’s defense was able to move his trial from Beverly Hills to downtown LA, where the jury was likely to be much more diverse and therefore more likely to acquit Simpson.

The second aspect that makes this case read like a compelling movie plotline is the fact there were lots of celebrity connections. 

Yes, Simpson was a superstar in his own right, but for this generation, the case is tied to many more famous faces, namely Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian Sr. During the trial, Kardashian was one of Simpson’s defense lawyers. Meanwhile, Jenner had been best friends with Nicole Brown Simpson and so was famously on the opposite side of her ex-husband. 

Considering their prominence in the spotlight today, it’s interesting to see footage of Kris Jenner pregnant with Kendall Jenner and second husband formerly known as Bruce Jenner sitting in the courtroom while the decision was announced. 

I spent a good amount of time in high school watching multi-hour-long YouTube videos explaining the trial and the evidence in depth, and I’m evidently not the only one who continues to be fascinated with the case.

While all the other aspects are extremely interesting, at the end of the day, no one knows what happened that day in Brentwood except for Simpson. That alone seems to be enough to continue to keep us invested in this story.

With the release of this interview, it seems as if we might be a little bit closer to the truth about what really happened that night. As far as I’m concerned, most innocent people don’t go on TV and talk about exactly how they’d have carried out the murder of their ex-wife.


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