Please note the headline says “new” evidence. It does not say “good” or “credible” or “definitive” evidence. That’s because the evidence doesn’t really fall into any of those categories. In fact, the headline could have read “F. Lee Bailey Evades Caretakers, Gets to Internet Before Somebody Stops Him.”
But whatever, former Dream Team (and now disbarred) lawyer F. Lee Bailey says he can tell us things about O.J. Simpson that we didn’t know before, things that make O.J. look innocent. And Bailey says that this evidence was not used during O.J.’s trial because of a strategic mistake by the late Johnnie Cochran. That’s right, if Cochran would have just done what Bailey wanted, O.J. Simpson could have been more acquitted! Or something.
Let’s look at what Bailey has to say. It’s one of those things that makes me happy we have “the internet”…
In a 46-page document posted on the website of his consulting firm, F. Lee Bailey wrote that he had additional evidence that would finally erase all doubt about the Heisman trophy winner’s innocence.
“The facts offered here are either largely unchallenged, or much more persuasive than those contrary views which have been argued,” he promised.
Oh, this is going to be good. The ABA Journal breaks down Bailey’s new claims:
Dog walker Tom Lang may have been the most important witness in the case, but his testimony was never used due to a decision by Johnnie Cochran, Bailey writes in the third portion (PDF) of his argument. Lang could have answered the question, “If Simpson didn’t do it, who did?” Bailey asserts.
Lang reports seeing a blonde woman arguing with a man near a white pickup truck—a Ford F-350, not the Bronco owned by Simpson—on the night of the murder. Another man nearby had a “menacing” posture, and he stood in a partially crouched position. Later Lang realized he had probably seen Nicole Brown Simpson. Bailey concedes, however, that Lang admitted he could not have identified either man in a lineup, and he couldn’t decisively say that neither was O.J. Simpson. Cochran was worried prosecutors would argue the pickup truck was indeed a Bronco, even though Lang had owned eleven Ford trucks and knew the models.
Let me get this straight: you’ve got a guy who saw a man “menacing” Nicole Brown Simpson, and that guy can’t “decisively” say that the crouching menace was not O.J. Simpson, and you want to put that man on the stand? In O.J.’s defense? How was that supposed to work exactly?
COCHRAN: Did you see my client on the night in question?
COCHRAN: Did you see my client’s vehicle on the night in question?
LANG: No, I saw a vehicle that looked almost exactly like it.
COCHRAN: Did my client kill Nicole Brown Simpson?
LANG: Dude, I don’t know.
COCHRAN: Ladies and gentleman of the jury: if the dog walker doesn’t know, you must let O.J. go.
Look, I’m sure Johnnie Cochran could have gotten O.J. off even with this witness. But look at some of the other winners Bailey wanted to put on the stand:
*A key witness, Keith Douglas Zlomsowitch, was never called, though Bailey claims Zlomsowitch would have testified that Simpson wasn’t jealous of other men’s relationships with his ex-wife. “The public never heard from Zlomsowitch, even though his testimony would have posed a powerful contradiction to the prosecution’s only claim of motive: that Simpson killed Nicole because of a jealous rage.
Sure, a man doesn’t mind when his wife (sorry, ex-wife) is sleeping with other men. Totally believable. Especially about such a gentle soul like O.J.:
“O.J. – apart from the infliction of injury on Nicole – has no history of resorting to raging violence to solve his emotional problems,” Bailey wrote in the documents, adding that a psychiatrist agreed the former football star had never been psychotic. Simpson also had never exhibited the demeanor or the motive to kill his ex-wife and Brown, Bailey said.
Right, O.J. never beat her, except that one time, but really he didn’t want to.
Anyway, why the hell is Bailey coming forward with all of this “information”? Well, apparently Bailey thinks that if Cochran had used witnesses like dog walker Tom Lang, the general public would have believed that O.J. was innocent, and then O.J. wouldn’t be in jail today for his failed memorabilia robbery.
Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for a botched robbery to recover his own sports memorabilia. “I am convinced that he sits in jail today,” Bailey writes, “because a jury in Nevada believed it was punishing him because he ‘beat the rap’ for these two murder charges.”
My position on O.J. is a little bit complicated: I think he killed those two people, I think he should have been acquitted of those murders (because the state should not be able to use clearly racist police officers as investigators ever), I think no regular person would have gotten 33 years for trying to get his own stuff back in Nevada of all places, I’m okay with O.J. sitting in jail for the rest of his life (since he did murder two people). Like most people, I’ve made up my mind about O.J., and there’s not really anything that’s going to change it — least of all the ravings of a 77-year-old former attorney well past his prime.
But maybe Bailey is playing the “long con” on this one? He’s not fighting for O.J.’s legacy and reputation in the here-and-now. It’s only been 15 years since the O.J. trial; maybe Bailey is trying to play for how people will talk about it in 50 years, or 100 years? Hey, that sure says something about Bailey’s commitment to his clients.
Even so, I still think he’ll fail. Because in 50 or 100 years, people will be even more comfortable with the concept of DNA evidence. As many have said, racist cop or no, there’s no lawyer trick that would have gotten O.J. off had his trial taken place after CSI went on the air.
O.J. Simpson’s ex lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, claims he can prove the ex-football player is innocent [New York Daily News]
F. Lee Bailey: Dog Walker Would Have Shown O.J. Simpson Wasn’t a Murderer [ABA Journal]