With the O.J. Simpson murder trial back in the spotlight thanks to American Crime Story as well as a knife that was allegedly unearthed from the football star’s property, lead prosecutor Marcia Clark spoke to Dateline about the “Trial of the Century” and her feelings after Simpson was acquitted. “That was not justice,” Clark said, adding that when the verdict came back “not guilty” it was “physically painful.” “The problem was the jury didn’t want to believe, and so at the end of day, you can’t make someone believe something they don’t want to believe.”
While initially considered a slam dunk case because of all the evidence against Simpson, Clark said she immediately recognized getting a guilty verdict wouldn’t be a given after she witnessed people cheering for Simpson to escape in the white Bronco chase. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, this is not good. … He has murdered two innocent people, slaughtered them, and you’re cheering his escape?’ It gave me a full view of what we were up against,” Clark said.
In fact, Clark never felt confident about a guilty verdict since the jury – which included nine African-Americans jurors – “came in for the purpose of payback,” since the trial took place in the shadow of the Rodney King incident and the L.A. riots. “I had so many days going to the office feeling like, ‘We’re toast; it’s over,’ because I remember watching the jury every single day,” Clark said. “Throughout the trial, it felt like one minefield after another. Every day we’d walk into court, and something else was blowing up.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Clark discussed her reasoning behind not using Kris Jenner as a witness (her testimony would have been hearsay), the infamous glove that didn’t fit and whether she thinks Simpson would be found guilty if the trial happened today. “Honestly, I don’t know whether he would be convicted today,” Clark told Dateline. “Because in the wake of all these police shootings and all the racial mistrust that has been exposed, probably what would result, in my opinion, is a hung jury.”