Cochran's friends outraged at 'bloody glove' allegation
Friends and colleagues of Johnnie L. Cochran are expressing outrage over allegations from an ex-prosecutor that the defense attorney tampered with the infamous "blood glove" in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
They said the accusation was "slanderous" and that Cochran, who died in 2005, is not around to defend himself.
During the trial in the stabbing deaths of Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman, Simpson tried on bloody gloves and held up his hands in front of the jury box to let everyone see the leather bunched up around his broad palms. They appeared not to fit. That demonstration became a powerful symbol for the defense, summed up by Cochran: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
Several jurors cited the too-tight gloves as a key reason for voting to acquit Simpson. But last week, Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors on the case, said during a panel discussion about the trial at Pace Law School in New York City that the glove had been tampered with.
According to Reuters, Darden declared: "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."
"As members of the defense team, Carl Douglas and I were present in court on the day that Chris Darden asked O.J. Simpson to try on the glove,” attorney Shawn Holley said in a statement to The Times. “Mr. Darden's self-serving assertion that Johnnie Cochran tampered with the glove -- or any piece of evidence -- is false, malicious and slanderous.
“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."
Alan Dershowitz, who also worked with Cochran, has said in a statement that the claims are "a total fabrication."
The glove incident was seen as the pivotal moment in the 1995 trial.
At the time, Darden tried to explain how the glove would not fit Simpson by bringing in expert Richard Rubin, who "testified that moisture had caused the extra-large leather gloves to shrink nearly a full size and lose much of their elasticity," according to a Times report. Rubin said "the gloves in their original condition would easily go onto the hand of someone of Mr. Simpson's size."
[Rubin] added that he tried an experiment after court Thursday: He put on a pair of latex liners [Simpson wore them to avoid contaminating evidence] like the one Simpson wore, and tried to put on his own gloves. Pulling them over his hands, he testified, was more difficult with the latex liners.
Darden then picked up a line of questioning he had ignored Thursday, asking Rubin about when, why and how much leather gloves shrink.
Wearing a cheery Snoopy tie and looking relaxed, Rubin testified that gloves can shrink up to 15% if they are drenched in moisture. Even if stretched, the crime scene gloves could never return to more than 92% of their original size, he said.
"These gloves," Rubin added, "will never return to their original size and shape." During the trial, prosecutors tried to show they actually belonged to victim Nicole Brown Simpson.
-- Shelby Grad and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: O.J. Simpson in court in 1995. Credit: Associated Press