Seventeen years after the sensational murder trial of O.J. Simpson, the former prosecutor who went up against the ex-football star's legal "dream team" is now accusing famed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran of evidence tampering.
Christopher Darden was a 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office when he asked Simpson to try on the once blood-soaked gloves that prosecutors said Simpson wore during the June 1994 brutal murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman.
In what became the defining moment in the internationally publicized criminal "trial of the century," Cochran, the head of Simpson's defense team, said of the glove, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." In court proceedings televised around the world, Simpson struggled to get the glove onto his hand.
The jury wasn't convinced, and Simpson was eventually acquitted of the murder charges.
Darden is now saying that he believes that Cochran, who died of a brain tumor in March 2005, tampered with the gloves so they wouldn't fit onto Simpson's hand.
"What I think happened is that the defense manipulated that glove so that it did not appear to look as if it fit," Darden said during a panel discussion about the trial at New York's Pace University Law School on Sept. 6.
"I think Johnnie tore the lining. There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.'s fingers couldn't go all the way up into the glove," he said.
Darden claims Cochran tore the gloves' lining so that Simpson's fingers would get stuck.
Today, Alan Dershowitz, a former member of Simpson's legal team is firing back.
"If he had the complaint, he should have made it in front of the judge," Dershowitz said. "Now 17 years later he makes a serious allegation against a dead lawyer.
"There ought to be a full and complete investigation, and if he's lying, which I am convinced he is, he should be disbarred," he said.
Attorney Shawn Holley, who was also a member of the Simpson defense team, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that the accusation is "slanderous."
"Mr. Darden's self-serving assertion that Johnnie Cochran tampered with the glove--or any piece of evidence--is false, malicious and slanderous," Holley said in the statement. "Almost 20 years later, it seems Mr. Darden is still trying to exculpate himself from one of the biggest blunders in the history of jurisprudence."
Darden could not be reached by ABC News for comment. But some legal experts believe no harm was done.
"When you lose what was billed as a slam dunk case, the most publicized case in modern history, it does cause a little pain," Criminal Defense Attorney Dana Cole told ABC News. "Frankly, he has the right to give his thoughts, whether it's speculation or not."
In a 1997 civil trial for the murders, a jury found Simpson guilty and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the murder victims' families.
Simpson is currently serving 33 years in jail for an unrelated 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas.
- Crime & Justice
- Politics & Government
- Christopher Darden
- Johnnie Cochran