Televisual justice holds our imagination

Few celebrities have captured the public imagination in quite the same manner as OJ Simpson.

The former NFL star was acquitted of the 1995 murder of his ex-wife and her friend, only to go to jail for 33 years in 2008 for kidnapping, assault, and robbery charges involving sports memorabilia which he said belonged to him.

Primarily this is because the Simpson trial was the first product of the reality TV court drama age. The car chase and eventual arrest of the former Buffalo Bills running back was watched live by more than 100m people.

His defence team included celebrity advocates Johnnie Cochrane and Robert Kardashian. The sub-plot included tones of racial division in American society which prevail to this day.

There was an iconic scene where Simpson was asked to try on a blood-stained glove. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” Cochrane told members of the jury. It didn’t, and they did.

Subsequently, there was a civil lawsuit which awarded damages against Simpson, a bizarre case involving book publishing rights, and then the Las Vegas robbery case which saw Simpson incarcerated and now scheduled for parole in October at age 70.

His story has recently been recreated in a riveting eight-hour Oscar-winning documentary OJ: Made in America. Two things are certain — we will hear more about the man they call The Juice and, as with the Simpson and Pistorius trials, justice will become ever more televisual.

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