The People v. O.J. Simpson: A Who's Who Guide to the Legal Team

Joseph Allen
Cuba Gooding Jr, Judge Lance Ito, OJ Simpson, Kenneth Choi

Clockwise from left: Michael Becker/FX Networks, Robert Galbraith-Pool/Getty Images, Michael Becker/FX Networks, Eric Draper/AP

The Trial of the Century

“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit," said lead defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran, in what's become one of the most famous quotes from the O.J. Simpson trial, which captivated America from 1994 to 1995. The line itself referenced a glove that became a key piece of evidence, and the infamous trial is being dramatized for the first time, after two decades, in the FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. At the Television Critics Association earlier this year, Jeffrey Toobins, who wrote the book on which the series is based, said, “This was the most famous event in human history that had never been dramatized.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the trial and its key players, or for those who need a refresher, we’ve put together a who’s who guide of the real-life people (and the actors playing them) taking center stage in court when the drama premieres.

OJ Simpson, Cuba Gooding Jr.

From left: Eric Draper/AP, Michael Becker/FX Networks

O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.)

After a record-setting career in football, one that earned him both the Heisman Trophy and a Hall of Fame induction, O.J. Simpson embarked on an acting career. But this was all derailed when he was charged with murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. The People v. O.J. Simpson will track all the ups and downs of the trial until Simspon’s (shocking) acquittal. Though he was not convicted of the double homicide, Simpson was later sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping.

Plus: Cuba Gooding Jr. on Why O.J. Simpson Was the Hardest Role Ever

Johnnie Cochran, Courtney B. Vance

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Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance)

Cochran made a name for himself as the lawyer in several police brutality cases before the Simpson trial. He led the defense, known as the “Dream Team,” on this case, and became a go-to lawyer for high-powered celebs such as Michael Jackson, Sean Combs and Snoop Dog, which made Cochran something of a celebrity himself before his death in 2005.

Robert Shapiro, John Travolta

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Robert Shapiro (John Travolta)

Another member of O.J.’s all-star defense team, Shapiro was one of the top lawyers involved (along with Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Kardashian and Alan Dershowitz) who eventually got Simpson acquitted. Shapiro often held press conferences during the trial in hopes of gaining public support for O.J., and because of his success acquitting Simpson, other celebrity clients sought him out, such as Lindsay Lohan and Rob Kardashian Jr.

Marica Clark, Sarah Paulson

From left: Nick Ut/AP, Michael Becker/FX Networks

Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson)

Clark worked opposite Shapiro and Cochran, and was the star prosecutor. After the trial, Clark felt tremendous guilt about the acquittal. “I felt like I’d let everyone down. The Goldmans. The Browns. My team. The country,” she wrote in Without a Doubt, her memoir that covered details about the case.

Christopher Darden, Sterling K Brown

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Christopher Darden (Sterling K. Brown)

Prosecuting alongside Clark, Darden was the attorney who asked Simpson to try on the bloody glove that eventually became one of the major talking points in the case. After losing, Darden later quit the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and opened a private practice.

Robert Kardashian, David Schwimmer

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Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer)

The Kardashian name is one most people already know, and Robert Kardashian was actually Simpson’s friend for years prior to the trial. As a lawyer, Kardashian eventually became part of Simpson’s “Dream Team.” Although Keeping Up With the Kardashians wasn’t on air yet during the ‘90s, expect Kris Jenner (played by Selma Blair), married to Robert at the time, to pop up along with some of the Kardashian kids.

Plus: Khloe Kardashian on Why She Can't Wait to Watch American Crime Story

F. Lee Bailey, Nathan Lane

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F. Lee Bailey (Nathan Lane)

A friend of Shapiro’s, Bailey became involved with the “Dream Team” upon his request. His most notorious moment in the case came in his cross-examination of LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman, whose testimony against O.J. was eventually found to be unreliable (leading to his conviction for perjury and forced retirement).

Judge Lance Ito, Kenneth Choi

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Judge Lance Ito (Kenneth Choi)

Ito received an incredible amount of publicity for his role as presiding judge in the trial. While some initially praised Ito for his familiarity with the case, others believed his behavior became more and more erratic as the trial went on. His initial soft approach was eventually seen as insufficient…but, according to some legal analysts, he was later considered rude and as someone who flew off the handle easily.

Gil Garrett, Bruce Greenwood

From left: Nick Ut/AP, Michael Becker/FX Networks

Gil Garcetti (Bruce Greenwood)

Garcetti served as District Attorney in Los Angeles, one that dominated his first term in office. He served in that position until 2000, and is the father of Eric Garcetti, currently the Mayor of Los Angeles.

William Hodgman, Christian Clemenson

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Bill Hodgman (Christian Clemenson)

Hodgman served as the Assistant District Attorney alongside Garcetti in 1995, and he was one of the lead prosecutors on the case. Hodgman was involved in several key decisions, including the use of Detective Fuhrman’s testimony, and the heavy focus on O.J. as a domestic abuser during the trial.

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