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20 years ago today, the world stood still to hear two words: 'Not guilty'

The trial of OJ Simpson gripped a nation and beyond.
Oct 3rd 2015, 10:00 AM 14,334 28

TWENTY YEARS AGO today, this is the moment ended one of the most infamous murder trials of all time.

Source: CNN/YouTube

After a court case that took the best part of a year to complete, OJ Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

The trial gripped international attention like none other before, and perhaps since, and came to an end with a verdict that made it even more infamous.

The trial mixed celebrity, race, jealousy and the media in a way that has made it the touchstone to which every “trial of the century” has since been measured.

The hype surrounding the trial was fuelled from as far back as the time of the murders, over a year before in June 1994.

Hall of fame American footballer Simpson was charged with the murders of Brown and Goldman and was meant to turn himself over to police but didn’t show.

A resulting car chase with police in which Simpson’s friend drove his car attracted almost 100 million views across the United States. Simpson allegedly held a gun to his head during the chase.

He was eventually arrested at his mother’s house after negotiations with police. A loaded gun was found inside the car.

Source: CNN/YouTube

The trial did not take place on front of a grand jury because of the media hype around the case and a perceived lack of impartiality.

Eventually, the trial began in Downtown Los Angeles with Simpsons pleading, “absolutely, one hundred percent, not guilty.”

There were 10 women in the jury to two men. Nine of the jury members were black, two were white and one person was hispanic.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that the killings were “rage killings” with Simpson becoming overcome with jealousy over his wife’s new partner.

They pointed to Simpson’s history of domestic violence towards Brown and DNA evidence matching her blood to blood-stained socks found in Simpson’s bedroom.

Source: CNN/YouTube

Simpson’s defence team argued that police incompetence in investigating the case and alleged that a detective who’d used racist slurs in the past placed evidence at the crime scene.

In his closing arguments, Johnnie Cochran on behalf of Simpson argued that the prosecution’s contention that Simpson tried to disguise himself when murdering the two was farcical given his fame.

His argument became one of the most enduring moments of the trial.

Source: CNN/YouTube

Simpson is currently serving nine to 33 years in prison for a 2008 conviction in the armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas.

Read: OJ Simpson in a last-ditch effort to get new trial >

Read: OJ Simpson reportedly hosted a Super Bowl bash in his jail cell >

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Rónán Duffy

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