They were probably the seven most memorable words in the murder trial that gripped the nation: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” The phrase uttered by Johnnie Cochran came after O.J. Simpson tried on the famous “bloody glove” and showed the jury that it didn’t quite fit. (Video embedded below.) Now, almost 17 years after Simpson was acquitted of murder, former Los Angeles deputy district attorney Christopher Darden says he believes Cochran may be guilty of “manipulating” the infamous glove, reports Reuters.
The accusation came as a big surprise during a panel discussion at Pace Law School Thursday. “I think Johnnie tore the lining,” Darden, a member of the prosecution team said. “There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.’s fingers couldn’t go all the way up into the glove.” In an interview the following day, Darden told Reuters that at the time he thought the glove’s structure appeared to be different. “A bailiff told me the defense had it during the lunch hour,” he said, emphasizing that he was voicing a “suspicion” he’s had “for a long time” but wasn’t actually accusing anyone of anything.
Members of the defense team quickly rejected the claims. “Having made the greatest legal blunder of the 20th century,” Alan Dershowitz said, “he’s trying to blame it on the dead man.” (Cochran died in 2005.) Dershowitz, who was part of the defense team, told Reuters he “was certain” that Simpson’s lawyers didn’t have access to the glove before Simpson tried it on in front of the jury.
The Los Angeles Times reminds readers that at the time Darden brought in an expert witness who testified that moisture had caused the gloves to shrink “nearly a full size and lose much of their elasticity.”