Steven C. Owens
10 min readJan 31, 2018

How tragedy and death surrounded the O.J. Simpson “Dream Team” After the Murder Trial.

Johnny Cochran and Robert Shapiro flank O.J. Simpson in the “Trial of the Century”. Both would meet tragedy and death after the trial.

Making a deal with the devil involves an exchange of your soul for fame and fortune. There is no doubt that the O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” of lawyers knew Simpson was guilty of double homicide in 1994. They were gluttons (Gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins)for their celebrity status and abundant riches they would receive pretending to defend Simpson’s innocence. Everything from Robert Shapiro taping conversations for a future book (Johnny Cochran confirmed on a Charlie Rose interview in 1996) to daily pictures and autographs to “trial” fans. Even Judge Ito enjoyed the new celebrity status. However, there was little regard for the two victims and their families, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman (other than than the Prosecutors). Ignoring a brutal crime and covering it up with lies and false distractions only deepens the evil sin.

“Distractions”: Racism and Police Brutality by the LA Police Department was a senseless distraction to the O. J. Simpson Case. However, in no way does the term “distraction” in this report mean that Police Brutality and Racism should be acceptable or that it condones this type of behavior. To the guilt or innocence of O.J. Simpson given the blood evidence and witnesses that were not allowed to testify, the “distraction” led to a false verdict. Racism and Police brutality should be treated as a crime and forever be prosecuted as a crime.

Many forget, including myself, that Simpson originally had a different lawyer (outside the Dream Team), Howard Weitzman. Two days after guiding O. J. Simpson through a three-hour police interrogation about the killing of Simpson’s former wife, Howard L. Weitzman withdrew as the onetime football star’s lawyer, stating he had too heavy a workload. Mr. Weitzman was immediately replaced by prominent lawyer, Robert Shapiro. In dropping out of the case, Mr. Weitzman said:

Weitzman was the first Lawyer for O.J. Simpson

“I have decided because of my personal relationship with O. J. Simpson and my many other professional commitments, I can no longer give O. J. the attention he both deserves and needs. I will continue to advise and consult with O. J. and provide whatever support I can.”

Ironically Robert Kardashian later became part of the ‘Dream Team” even though he had close ties to both Simpson and the victim Nicole Brown Simpson. Although Kardashian struggled with Simpson’s innocence he still became part of his defense team.

Ten months prior to the Simpson Case Mr. Weitzman succeeded Mr. Shapiro as Michael Jackson’s chief advocate against a sexual misconduct inquiry. Therefore, handling the case over to Shapiro would be seemless. To this day there is debate on whether Weitzman was fired by Shapiro and Simpson or whether Weitzman felt the evidence was overwhelming against O.J. and dropped out for that reason. Why did Weitzman suddenly feel overwhelmed with celebrity clients when O.J. Simpson was the one of the biggest stars at that time and would’ve made Weitzman a household name? I am sure he could have lightened his case load a little by dropping a few of the lesser known celebrities clients to focus on O.J. Simpson? This makes you wonder how guilty Simpson was to Weitzman and how hopeless the battle seemed at the time of the arrest. Afterall, Weitzman left Simpson alone during the intitial interrogation by the LAPD? What Lawyer leaves their client alone with police if he feels that his client is innocent? Weitzman avoided the curse and controversy and is still a practicing attorney today.


Robert Shapiro

Robert Shapiro

According to Johnny Cochran in his own words from the book, “A Lawyer’s Life”, Robert Shapiro had felt from the start that O.J. Simpson was guilty but not the single killer. Cochran explained that Shapiro felt that Simpson was one of possibly two or three killers in the murder of Nicole and Ron. After Simpson’s first Lawyer, Howard Weitzman, was either fired or quit, Robert Shapiro was named as a lead attorney for the O.J. Simpson case. Known for his celebrity representation, namely sports figures, Shapiro was also known as an attorney who plea-bargained for settlements for his clients and no real experience with murder trials. January 2, 1995, O.J. Simpson wanted to bring in Johnny Cochran to lead the defense team and advised Shapiro of this change. Simpson felt that Cochran had more “trial attorney” experience but wanted Shapiro to remain as part of the team. Shapiro resented the change in leadership and he and Cochran often had disagreements regarding strategy and direction of Simpson’s defense. Up to the day of the verdict, Shapiro felt Simpson would be convicted even asking Simpson to prepare himself when the Jury eventually read the “not-guilty” verdict on October 3, 1995.


Ten years after the not-guilty verdict of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Robert Shapiro suffered the horrible loss of his son, Brent Shapiro in 2005 due to a drug overdose. Shapiro and his wife Linell, have dedicated their life to helping families cope with the effect of drugs and alcohol through the Brent Shapiro Foundation.


Johnny Cochran

Johnny Cochran became lead Attorney for the “Dream Team”

Johnny Cochran was brought in as the second member of the “Dream Team” for the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Much to Robert Shapiro’s objection he and Cochran clashed between opposite opinions on Simpson’s guilt versus his professed innocence. Shapiro urged for a plea as Cochran pushed for a trial and an acquittal. Cochran felt that there was a “rush to judgement” by the LA PD because of Simpson’s celebrity status not to mention a racial bias. Cochran proved that the jury was still stinging from the Rodney King Case of 1992 and exposed to the jury that the LA PD still behaved in a racially prejudicial manner. Specifically elevating LA Detective Mark Fuhrman and his racially filled recordings to the jury while hammering home the point that if the police department was racially biased then the evidence presented could not be trusted. It worked. Simpson was acquitted in the murder trial, however, found guilty in the civil trial a couple of years later. Cochran did not represent Simpson in the civil case.


After enjoying a new celebrity life style after the “Dream Team” victory of the Simpson murder trial acquittal, Johnny Cohran was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December 2003. Cochran subsequently died in his home in Los Angeles, on March 29, 2005 at the age of 67.


Robert Kardashian

Despite Robert Kardashian’s doubts about O.J. Simpson and his innocence he remained part of the “Dream Team to the end.

Despite being part of O.J. Simpson’s Dream Team of Defense attorney’s, you got the feeling that as each gut-wrenching day that Robert Kardashian worked on the case, he was waiting for a moment where he wanted to believe 100% that Simpson was innocent. Unfortunately, as the team got closer to the verdict, Kardashian became more convinced Simpson was guilty but could never admit it out-loud. Because he was stuck in a tornado of defending his client along with defending a one-time-close friend, he lived with the pain of knowing the truth and upholding the lie.

Robert and O.J. met on a tennis court in 1969 and stayed friends for decades. Sharing business interests as well as a love of the jet-set lifestyle and the University of Southern California, where Kardashian earned his bachelor’s degree and Simpson earned his Heisman Trophy. Simpson was an usher at Kardashian’s 1978 wedding to Kris Houghton — now better known as Kris Jenner — and Kardashian was there in 1977 when Simpson met Nicole Brown, his future wife. Because of their close relationship it was not odd that Simpson stayed at the Kardashian home to avoid the media swarm while the investigation by police continued. When Simpson failed to turn himself in to the LAPD on June 17,1994, it was Kardashian who read a letter written by Simpson to the media outside his house.

According to Kaitlyn Jenner (formally Bruce Jenner) Kardashian admitted to her in the late 1990’s that he believed Simpson was guilty of the double homicide. Kardashian was tormented during the trial and wrote a letter to his ex-wife Kris Jenner and his children stating;

“The past 7 months have taken such an emotional toll on my life — you have no idea,” he continued. “The other day, someone asked me a simple question about something that happened during the week of June 12 and for no reason, I started to cry. My life will never be the same. I’m sorry for what has happened but I was only helping my friend — just as any of you would do. Please don’t let whatever is going to happen in this case affect our family.”

Voice Lost

Robert Kardashian lost his voice to esophageal cancer on September 30, 2003 at the age of 59. He was tortured over knowing the truth and being able to speak it during the trial. In 1996 he told Barbara Walters;

"I have doubts," Kardashian told Barbara Walters in a "20/20" interview that October. "The blood evidence is the biggest thorn in my side; that causes me the greatest problems. So I — I struggle with the blood evidence. "


F. Lee Bailey

F. Lee Bailey sits and dines with O.J. in 2017 as the only “Dream Team” alumni left to support him.

You rarely here of someone selling their soul more than one time? Then there is 84 year old F. Lee Bailey who welcomes O.J. Simpson back with open arms. After Simpson served his 9 year sentence for burglary in a Las Vegas Hotel room, Bailey has no shame in breaking bread with Simpson. After-all Bailey has not much else in his life after being disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for misconduct. Bailey filed for bankruptcy after the string of scandals which included misappropriating funds from his defense of an alleged drug dealer.

Unable to practice law, Bailey runs a consulting business above a hair salon in Yarmouth, Maine. Bailey tried to return to the courtroom, but he has been turned down, even after passing the bar exam not long ago in Maine.


There were three key attorney’s from the Dream Team that seemed to survive the curse and be the only few left on the O.J. Simpson Trial “Survivor Island”.

Alan Dershowitz: Dershowitz played a major role in Simpson’s defense team. He retired after 50 years of teaching at Harvard University. However, perhaps his “curse” is that he is still condemned to this day for his role of defending Simpson.


“People send me e-mails, to this day, damning me to hell. Telling me I won’t be able to face my maker,” he stated. “And it is as if the verdict was handed down yesterday.”

Dershowitz has continued a prolific career as an attorney in high profile cases, a writer of books and articles and a major voice as an Israel advocate.

Barry Scheck

Barry Scheck: Hired to pick-apart with pain staking annoyance the DNA evidence presented to the Jury by the prosecution. Still new in 1995, Scheck made sure to confuse the Jury and destroy any credibility of the blood evidence backed by the new science of DNA. After his contribution to Simpson’s acquittal, Scheck turned his DNA knowledge in to a positive solution. He is co-founder and co-director of the “Innocence Project”, a non-profit organization that uses DNA evidence to clear the names of the wrongfully convicted.

Carl Douglass:

Carl Douglass

Douglas was widely considered one of Johnnie Cochran’s top lawyers. He later became managing attorney of the Law Office of Johnnie Cochran Jr. before leaving the firm in 1998, to form The Carl Douglas Law Group (now know as Douglas/Hicks Law).


O.J. Simpson signing his release papers in 2017

After 9 years in prison for a different crime, O.J. Simpson was released from a Nevada Prison in October 2017. He is allowed to walk free among the rest of us and his empty promise of “finding the real killers” of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman remains just that, empty. July 21, 1994 was the last time Simpson offered a reward of any kind to find the real killers ($500,000). Now of course Simpson is broke and only has his “innocence” to prove which could easily be done by any Private Detective looking to work solely on notoriety. Imagine being the person who clears O.J. Simpson of murder? Let alone bringing the real killer(s) to justice. I think that person would benefit financially well, don’t you?


For the victims of this tragic crime, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, they are the ones who in life suffered a horrible fate, and in death remain without their true justice. Although O.J. Simpson walks in his own hell of knowing that he is guilty and will never return to his superstar status, the victim’s families bare the deepest pain. The Goldman’s and the Brown’s carry the burden of witnessing and remembering Simpson never standing before that 1995 jury to receive the “guilty” verdict he so deserved.



Steven C. Owens

Writer of life lessons sprinkled with meaningful sports and history editorials.