In this Oct. 3, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson, center, clenches his fists in victory after the jury said he was not guilty in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in a Los Angeles courtroom as attorneys F. Lee Bailey, left, and Robert Shapiro, right, look on. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, Myung Chun, Pool)

In this Oct. 3, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson, center, clenches his fists in victory after the jury said he was not guilty in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in a Los Angeles courtroom as attorneys F. Lee Bailey, left, and Robert Shapiro, right, look on. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, Myung Chun, Pool)

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It was declared the “Trial of the Century” and captivated the nation from the day O.J. Simpson was arrested in 1994 in the killing of his ex-wife and her friend until he was acquitted almost 15 months later. Here are the key events.

THE KILLINGS

Passers-by, led by the mournful howls of Nicole Brown Simpson’s dog, find her body and that of Ron Goldman in front of her condominium in the wealthy Brentwood section of Los Angeles on the night of June 12, 1994. The coroner determines they were attacked by surprise and stabbed multiple times.

In this June 17, 1994 file photo, a white Ford Bronco, driven by Al Cowlings carrying O.J. Simpson, is trailed by Los Angeles police cars as it travels on a Southern California freeway in Los Angeles. Cowlings and Simpson led authorities on a chase after Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. (AP Photo/Joseph Villarin, File)

In this June 17, 1994 file photo, a white Ford Bronco, driven by Al Cowlings carrying O.J. Simpson, is trailed by Los Angeles police cars as it travels on a Southern California freeway in Los Angeles. Cowlings and Simpson led authorities on a chase after Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. (AP Photo/Joseph Villarin, File)

THE BRONCO CHASE

Instead of surrendering as promised five days later, O.J. Simpson flees in a white Ford Bronco driven by his former football teammate Al Cowlings. As authorities pursue the car over 60 miles of freeways, officers plead by phone with Simpson to surrender as he at times holds a gun to his head. The chase, broadcast live on TV, ends when Cowlings drives him home.

THE SUICIDE NOTE (OR WAS IT?)

During the pursuit, Simpson’s lawyer reads reporters a long, rambling letter many conclude is a suicide note. Although he never explicitly says he plans to kill himself, Simpson does say goodbye to his first wife and numerous friends. He declares he didn’t kill his ex-wife or Goldman and says: “Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life.”

In this Sept. 27, 1995 file photo, defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. puts on a pair of gloves, to remind the jury in the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial that the gloves Simpson tried on did not fit him. Cochran, Simpson’s lead attorney who coined the phrase, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” wrote a memoir revealing his rift with Robert Shapiro, the first member of Simpson's defense team, over control of the defense case. He died in 2005 from brain cancer at the age of 68. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool, File)

In this Sept. 27, 1995 file photo, defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. puts on a pair of gloves, to remind the jury in the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial that the gloves Simpson tried on did not fit him. Cochran, Simpson’s lead attorney who coined the phrase, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” wrote a memoir revealing his rift with Robert Shapiro, the first member of Simpson’s defense team, over control of the defense case. He died in 2005 from brain cancer at the age of 68. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool, File)

THE DREAM TEAM

As his case heads to trial, Simpson assembles a high-paid team of the nation’s best defense lawyers. It’s led by flamboyant attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., who coins the term: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” It’s a reference Cochran makes in his closing argument, telling jurors the bloody gloves found at the murder scene and at Simpson’s home were too small for him.

DID THE GLOVES FIT?

It certainly didn’t look like it when Simpson tried them on. Some legal experts say the prosecution lost the case that day. “Don’t do a courtroom demonstration in front of the jury unless you know how it will turn out,” says former federal prosecutor Laurie Levinson.

In this Sept. 7, 1995 file photo, Judge Lance Ito holds up an enlarged proof sheet of crime scene photos during O.J. Simpson's double-murder trial in Los Angeles. In 2014 Ito is still on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench. (AP Photo/Fred Prouser, Pool, File)

In this Sept. 7, 1995 file photo, Judge Lance Ito holds up an enlarged proof sheet of crime scene photos during O.J. Simpson’s double-murder trial in Los Angeles. In 2014 Ito is still on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench. (AP Photo/Fred Prouser, Pool, File)

THE RACE CARD

Defense attorneys denounced police Officer Mark Fuhrman, who found the bloody glove at Simpson’s house, as a white racist out to frame the black sports hero. After Fuhrman testified in court that he hadn’t used racial epithets to describe black people in years, lawyers produced a recording of him repeatedly using the N-word. Time Magazine got caught up in the fray when one of its artists doctored a cover photo of Simpson to make him look darker.

In this Dept. 29, 1995 file photo, prosecutor Christopher Darden points at a chart during his closing arguments as co-prosecutor Marcia Clark looks on in a Los Angeles courtroom during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. Darden, the co-prosecutor who was criticized for having Simpson try on the so-called murder gloves, left the district attorney’s office following the trial. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, Pool, File)

In this Dept. 29, 1995 file photo, prosecutor Christopher Darden points at a chart during his closing arguments as co-prosecutor Marcia Clark looks on in a Los Angeles courtroom during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. Darden, the co-prosecutor who was criticized for having Simpson try on the so-called murder gloves, left the district attorney’s office following the trial. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, Pool, File)

THE NATION REACTS

After nearly a year of racial animosity fomented by the trial, the country is divided into two camps: Sixty-two percent of white Americans think Simpson is guilty and 68 percent of blacks think he’s innocent, according to a CNN Time poll taken at the time the verdict was issued.

In this June 2, 2014, photo, Shannon Spicker sits on her porch beside her daughter Maryana, 2, in Coraopolis, Pa., and talks about the feelings she had at the time of the O.J. Simpson arrest, trial and decision 20 years ago. Spicker said, "Most of us didn't understand why it was racially charged." (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

In this June 2, 2014, photo, Shannon Spicker sits on her porch beside her daughter Maryana, 2, in Coraopolis, Pa., and talks about the feelings she had at the time of the O.J. Simpson arrest, trial and decision 20 years ago. Spicker said, “Most of us didn’t understand why it was racially charged.” (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

THE SECOND TRIAL

After Simpson’s acquittal, the victims’ families sue him. A second jury, applying a lesser standard than required in a criminal trial, finds him liable for the killings and orders him to pay a $33.5 million judgment. Goldman’s sister and father spend much of the next decade taking him to court in an effort to collect.

FREE BUT NOT FREE

On Sept. 13, 2007, the day the Goldman family wins the rights to Simpson’s book, “If I Did It,” Simpson bursts into a Las Vegas hotel room with a handful of acquaintances and seizes numerous pieces of his sports memorabilia two men are trying to sell. He is convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges and sentenced to nine to 33 years in a Nevada prison.

In this June 20, 1994 file photo, mall shoppers in Tampa, Fla., watch banks of televisions in an electronics store as the arraignment of O.J. Simpson is televised from Los Angeles. The O.J. Simpson trial was labeled the "Trial of the century" and a forerunner of today's interactive media. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

In this June 20, 1994 file photo, mall shoppers in Tampa, Fla., watch banks of televisions in an electronics store as the arraignment of O.J. Simpson is televised from Los Angeles. The O.J. Simpson trial was labeled the “Trial of the century” and a forerunner of today’s interactive media. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

IMPACT ON POP CULTURE

The case helped establish the fledgling Court TV cable channel, now called TruTV. It launched the TV careers of several attorneys hired by the television networks to provide expert commentary, a phenomenon that led Woody Allen to remark in the film “Deconstructing Harry” that a special place in hell has been reserved for people who take such jobs. The trial’s judge, Lance Ito, was lampooned repeatedly on “The Tonight Show” by a group called “The Dancing Itos,” and on television’s “Seinfeld,” actor Phil Morris became famous playing Jackie Chiles, a loud, bombastic attorney modeled on Cochran.

 

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