4. The defense redecorated O.J.’s house to make him appear more “black”
We’ll let Dominck Dunne set this one up: “The jury will visit the crime scene and O.J’s mansion, and O.J. will be there, too. Imagine, the first time he’s been back, since the Bronco chase.” From Dunne’s lavish dinner party, the scene cuts to Johnnie Cochran scrutinizing his client’s Brentwood mansion, shaking his head at a Norman Rockwell print of two boys playing football. Over an excellent montage, he and his staff swap out the photos of half-dressed white girls for portraits of the Juice and his mom, throwing in some African art (“on loan, from the Cochran collection”) for good measure.
For this, it seems, the writers turned away from Toobin’s largely legal tome to the 1996 Lawrence Schiller blow-by-blow account, American Tragedy: The Uncensored History of the O.J. Simpson Defense. According to that book, the defense wanted to show the murder scene to prove that it was such a small space, O.J. would have been covered in blood — and to show his home in order to convince them that he had too much to lose to commit the murder. The only problem, as Cochran saw it, was that his house’s decorations wouldn’t resonate with the largely black jury. So they did change out the pictures of white women — including a nude of his girlfriend, Paula Barbieri — with portraits of his black family. Funny enough, the art that came in from the Cochran collection, which Johnnie wanted because it “depict[ed] African American history,” was a Rockwell print from his office … one which depicted a young black girl, surrounded by federal agents, walking into school. (3/5 Gloves)
5. Bill Hodgman was so upset that Cochran used undisclosed witness names during his opening argument that he fainted in the courtroom and was taken off the case
“One might wonder why the prosecution didn’t bring to your attention, Mary Anne Gerchas,” Cochran begins his opening arguments on ACS. “Or Rosa Lopez. Or Joe Stellini.” The prosecutors look baffled and begin rifling through their papers. Before Cochran can get much farther, Hodgman jumps up to object. “I hesitate to interrupt another lawyer’s opening statement, but it appears that for some reason that these witnesses have not been turned over to the people!” The defense falls on its sword, with Cochran’s associate Carl Douglas apologizing for the failure to disclose all their witnesses. Hodgman takes on a Marcia-Clark-Episode-Two-level shrillness, loses his breath, and loses consciousness. He suffers an apparent heart attack on the floor of the courtroom, as the world is watching.