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Today in History: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of murder

OJ: Trial Of The Century


Twenty years ago today, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the brutal 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

The court case spanned 252 days and was dubbed, "the trial of the century" by the media. Simpson's "dream team" of lawyers used creative methods to twist evidence in order to convince jurors of Simpson's innocence, or essentially, that his guilt had not been proved "beyond a reasonable doubt."

See photos from the "trial of the century":
15 PHOTOS
OJ Simpson in court
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Today in History: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of murder
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: O.J. Simpson (L) talks with attorney Robert Shapiro during an 18 January court hearing in Simpson's double-murder case in Los Angeles, California. Judge Lance Ito ruled that jurors may hear some domestic violence allegations against Simpson. Opening statements in the trial were moved to 23 January. (COLOR KEY: Brown wall) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 23: O.J. Simpson's children from his first marriage, Jason (L), Arnelle (R) and cousin Terri Baker (C) appear in court 23 January in Los Angeles as the former football great and television celebrity's double-murder trial is expected to begin with opening statements. O.J. Simpson is accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman on 12 June 1994. (COLOR KEY: Collar (L) is red) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read RICK MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Fred Goldman and Patti Glass Goldman, the father and stepmother of murder victim Ronald Goldman, listen to prosecutor Christopher Darden as he delivers opening statements during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, January 24, Los Angeles, California. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 23: O.J. Simpson (R) looks up during a 23 January court hearing in Los Angeles, Ca, as attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. reviews doucuments in what should be opening day in Simpson's double-murder trial begins. Several evidenciary issues remain before the trial will be heard in front of the jury. (COLOR KEY: Brown wall.) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
Deputy district attorney Marcia Clark gestures as she addresses the jury for the prosecution's opening statements in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, Los Angeles, California, January 24, 1995. Simpson was accused of the 12 June 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. (Photo by Myung J. Chun/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: Judge Lance Ito looks at prosecutor Marcia Clark as he admonishes her for argumentative behavior during her opening statements to the jury in the O.J. Simpson murder trial 24 January in Los Angeles, CA. Ito ended the hearing later, after learning that the court video camera viewed live images of two jurors. Ito may remove cameras from the courtroom because of the incident. (COLOR KEY: Brown wall) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark (L) talks with fellow prosecutor Christopher Darden during court proceedings 26 January 1995 in Los Angeles. The OJ Simpson trial was delayed by the hospitalization of prosecutor William Hodgman and continuing fray over the defense's failure to turn over the names of its anticipated witnesses. (COLOR KEY: Wall is brown.) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: A picture taken by the Los Angeles Police Department on 01 January 1989 and projected on a screen in the courtroom 31 January 1995 shows Nicole Brown Simpson after her 911 call reporting a spousal abuse episode that defendant O.J. Simpson eventually pleaded no contest to. The picture was displayed by the prosecution during questioning of LAPD Detective John Edwards at the double murder trial of Simpson. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 9: Prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson murder trial Marcia Clark(L) and Christopher Darden(2nd L) show a display of a blood trail 09 February at Nicole Simpson's condominium to the jury and Los Angeles Police Department(LAPD) officer Robert Riske(R) during testimony in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Riske was the first police officer to arrive at the scene where Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered. (COLOR KEY:Blue chart.) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Defense attorneys Johnnie Cochran Jr. (R) and Robert Shapiro talk about the prosecution's announcement in court 15 February that the blood found on Nicole Brown Simpon's Bundy residence gate genetically matches that of murder defendant O.J. Simpson. (COLOR KEY: Red in Cochran's tie). AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15: Double murder defendant O.J. Simpson puts on one of the bloody gloves as a Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy looks on during the O.J. Simpson murder trial 15 June. One of the gloves was found at the murder scene, while the other was found at Simpson's state. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read SAM MIRCOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)
This 21 June 1995 file photo shows former US football player and actor O.J. Simpson looking at a new pair of Aris extra-large gloves that prosecutors had him put on during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch announced 20 November 2006 the cancellation of a controversial book and television interview involving O.J. Simpson being planned by his News Corp company. AFP PHOTO/Vince BUCCI/FILES (Photo credit should read VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
O.J. Simpson tries on a leather glove allegedly used in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman during testimony in Simpson's murder trial on June 15, 1995 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Lee Celano/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 21: O.J. Simpson shows the jury a new pair of Aris extra-large gloves, similar to the gloves found at the Bundy and Rockingham crime scene 21 June 1995, during his double murder trial in Los Angeles,CA. Deputy Sheriff Roland Jex(L) and Prosecutor Christopher Darden (R) look on. (Photo credit should read VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Orenthal James Simpson gained recognition while playing football at the University of Southern California, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 and earned the nickname "The Juice." He then rose to fame while playing in the National Football League for 11 seasons, where he broke multiple records. His stellar record led to his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Hall of Fame. After his retirement, Simpson held a career as a football broadcaster and actor.

In 1985, Simpson married television personality Nicole Brown, but the couple had a long history of trouble. Simpson pleaded no contest to spousal battery in 1989 before Brown filed for divorce in 1992.

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death in the front yard of her condo in Los Angeles. Brentwood Police charged O.J. Simpson with the double murder five days later.

In those five days, police had gathered enough evidence against O.J. Simpson to charge him with the murders, including the fact that Simpson had no alibi for during the time of the murders. A black, leather glove was also found outside Simpson's home that matched one found at the crime scene. Blood tested from the glove showed DNA belonging to Simpson and the two victims.

See photos of the famous car chase:
11 PHOTOS
OJ Simpson car chase, June 17 1994
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Today in History: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of murder
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Police cars pursue the Ford Bronco driven by Al Cowlings, carrying fugitive murder suspect O.J. Simpson, on a 90-minute slow-speed car chase June 17, 1994 on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California. Simpson's friend Cowlings eventually drove Simpson home, with Simpson ducked under the back passenger seat, to Brentwood where he surrendered after a stand-off with police. (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Motorists wave as police cars pursue the Ford Bronco (white, R) driven by Al Cowlings, carrying fugitive murder suspect O.J. Simpson, on a 90-minute slow-speed car chase June 17, 1994 on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California. Simpson's friend Cowlings eventually drove Simpson home, with Simpson ducked under the back passenger seat, to Brentwood where he surrendered after a stand-off with police. (Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux/Liaison)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Motorists wave signs as police cars pursue the Ford Bronco driven by Al Cowlings, carrying fugitive murder suspect O.J. Simpson, on a 90-minute slow-speed car chase June 17, 1994 on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California. Simpson's friend Cowlings eventually drove Simpson home, with Simpson ducked under the back passenger seat, to Brentwood where he surrendered after a stand-off with police. (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Motorists wave as police cars pursue the Ford Bronco (white, R) driven by Al Cowlings, carrying fugitive murder suspect O.J. Simpson, on a 90-minute slow-speed car chase June 17, 1994 on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California. Simpson's friend Cowlings eventually drove Simpson home, with Simpson ducked under the back passenger seat, to Brentwood where he surrendered after a stand-off with police. (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Motorists stop and wave as police cars pursue the Ford Bronco (white, R) driven by Al Cowlings, carrying fugitive murder suspect O.J. Simpson, on a 90-minute slow-speed car chase June 17, 1994 on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California. Simpson's friend Cowlings eventually drove Simpson home, with Simpson ducked under the back passenger seat, to Brentwood where he surrendered after a stand-off with police. (Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux/Liaison)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: Ex-football superstar O.J. Simpson (C) is accompanied by two LAPD detectives to Parker Center after he was arrested following a 90 minute highway chase 17 June. Simpson has been charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman who were brutally slain late 12 June 1994. (Photo credit should read VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: A photograph dated 29 September 1994 of O.J. Simpson in a Los Angeles courthouse during his trial. (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 6: Los Angeles Police Detective Tom Lange (L) points to pictures 06 March of the trail of blood at Nicole Brown Simpson's condominium where she and her friend Ron Goldman were murdered 12 June 1994 during testimony in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Lange, one of the lead investigators in the case, was cross-examined by the defense as to his actions at the murder scene. On the right is Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran, Jr. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read Lori SHELPER/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: Prosecutor Marcia Clark points to a chart as she describes to jurors where evidence was found at O.J. Simpson's home during opening statements in the O.J. Simpson murder trial 24 January in Los Angeles, CA. Simpson is accused of the 12 June 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. (COLOR KEY: Chart has blue border) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 8: Sukru Boztepe points 08 February in a Los Angeles court to O.J. Simpson ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson's condominium where he found her body 'lying down full of blood' just after midnight 12 June 1994. A friend, Ronald Goldman, was also found murdered. (COLOR KEY: Boztepe's shirt is red). AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
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However, Simpson refused to surrender when the police issued a warrant for his arrest on June 17. Instead, Simpson sent law officials on a low-speed chase in a white Ford Bronco, being driven by his former teammate Al Cowlings, who told police Simpson was suicidal and had a gun to his head. Authorities eventually got the former NFL star to surrender. In the vehicle, cops found a passport, a disguise kit with a fake moustache and a revolver.

Simpson pleaded not guilty to a judge and the criminal trial led to one of the most widely covered and controversial media events in history. Among many of the football records held by Simpson, he also broke the record for the longest trial ever held in the state of California and was captured by cameras everywhere.

Despite the mountain of evidence against him, Simpson's dream team of lawyers, including Robert Kardashian (yes, that Kardashian), used creative methods to convince the jury that Simpson had been framed by racist police. They painted their client to be yet another victim of a white judicial system and spent weeks attacking the damning pile of evidence, causing the jurors' doubt to grow.

See the people involved in the trial:
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OJ Simpson people involved
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Today in History: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of murder

Judge Lance Ito, still on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench, has presided over some 500 trials since the Simpson case made him famous. He long ago took his name plate off his courtroom door because it kept getting stolen. He is not standing for re-election this year and will retire in 2015 with few plans other than to learn to play guitar. 

(POO/AFP/Getty Images)

Judge Lance Ito, still on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench, has presided over some 500 trials since the Simpson case made him famous. He long ago took his name plate off his courtroom door because it kept getting stolen. He is not standing for re-election this year and will retire in 2015 with few plans other than to learn to play guitar.

(AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)

Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles district attorney during the Simpson trial, was re-elected to another term in spite of criticism of his handling of the case. He later changed careers, focusing on photography, and traveled the world taking pictures that were published in six books to raise awareness of social needs such as water wells in Africa. He has been consulting director of TV crime dramas, "The Closer" and "Major Crimes." His son, Eric, is mayor of Los Angeles. 

(Ron Galella, Ltd. WireImage)

Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles district attorney during the Simpson trial, was re-elected to another term in spite of criticism of his handling of the case. He later changed careers, focusing on photography, and traveled the world taking pictures that were published in six books to raise awareness of social needs such as water wells in Africa. He has been consulting director of TV crime dramas, "The Closer" and "Major Crimes." His son, Eric, is mayor of Los Angeles.

(Ben Horton/WireImage)

Marcia Clark, who prosecuted Simpson unsuccessfully, was paid $4 million for her memoir of the case and wrote a series of mystery novels. She never tried another case and stopped practicing law, though she has appeared as a TV commentator on high-profile trials.

(Beck Starr/FilmMagic)

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Simpson's lead attorney who coined the phrase, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," wrote a memoir revealing his rift with Shapiro over control of the defense case. He expanded his law firm to 15 states and was the success story of the team until he was stricken with brain cancer and died in 2005 at 68.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Barry Scheck, the lawyer who introduced the science of DNA to jurors and to the public watching on TV, attacked police methods of evidence collection and demolished the prosecution's forensic evidence case. He and co-counsel on the Simpson case, Peter Neufeld, founded The Innocence Project that uses DNA evidence to exonerate wrongly convicted prisoners. They have helped overturn hundreds of cases.

(Amy Sussman/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

F. Lee Bailey, famed for his role in the trials of Dr. Sam Shepard and heiress Patty Hearst, was a part-time member of the "Dream Team" who exposed detective Mark Fuhrman's racist statements. Bailey later was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for misconduct in handling a client's case. He continues to seek readmission to the bar and has written a lengthy treatise on why he believes in Simpson's innocence.

(POO/AFP/Getty Images)

F. Lee Bailey, famed for his role in the trials of Dr. Sam Shepard and heiress Patty Hearst, was a part-time member of the "Dream Team" who exposed detective Mark Fuhrman's racist statements. Bailey later was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for misconduct in handling a client's case. He continues to seek readmission to the bar and has written a lengthy treatise on why he believes in Simpson's innocence.

(Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Robert Kardashian, a close friend of Simpson, renewed his lapsed law license to participate in the trial. Simpson stayed at his home after the killings were discovered and Kardashian read to the public a rambling message from Simpson as he was fleeing from police in a white Ford Bronco. Kardashian died at the age of 59 in 2003 from esophageal cancer. His ex-wife, Kris, and his children, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob, became famous after his death with their reality show, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

(Ron Galella/WireImage)

Kato Kaelin, known as America's most famous house guest, was living on Simpson's property when he claimed to hear a bump in the night that prosecutors suggested was Simpson returning from the murders. Kaelin tried to extend his moment in the spotlight to show business after the trial and is now involved in promoting a clothing line called, "Kato's Potatoes."

(Joe Kohen/Getty Images)

Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman's younger sister, was 22 when she burst into hysterical sobs when the not guilty verdict was read. She counsels troubled teens as executive director of the Southern California-based nonprofit The Youth Project and is a frequent speaker to victims' rights group. She is the author of two books. Her latest, "Can't Forgive: My Twenty-Year Battle With O.J. Simpson," was published last month. Goldman, 42, is divorced and lives in a Southern California suburb with her 10-year-old son.

(Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)

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Despite the trail taking 252 days, jurors only took four hours to deliberate. On October 3, 1995, approximately 140 million people tuned in on various devices to hear Simpson's verdict of "not guilty" of both murders.

Although the trial was over, Simpson's legal troubles didn't end there. He was forced to pay $33.5 million to the victims' families after he was found guilty in a later trial of being guilty of several charges related to the murders. However, due to his expensive legal fees and few assets, Simpson has avoided paying the majority of it.

In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison after being found guilty of 12 charges including armed robbery and kidnapping, after he was arrested in Las Vegas for breaking into a hotel room and steal memorabilia at gunpoint, that he claimed had originally belonged to him.

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