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THE PROSECUTION HAD PROBLEMS. Some incongruities were never straightened out in the 16 months of investigation and trial. Why wasn't there more blood in the Bronco? How did Simpson, if he committed the murders, manage to get rid of the clothes and weapon so fast? All that might be explained if Simpson had had an accomplice. Both the cops and the D.A.s were convinced, and still are, that Simpson, though he committed the murders himself, had some assistance. Soon after the crimes, a member of the prosecution team told TIME: "There was a clean-up. He had help." In the weeks following the murders, the cops placed a tail on Simpson's son Jason and followed him around town. Two female detectives rented a house across from where O.J. Simpson's friend A.C. Cowlings was staying and also followed him. However, prosecutors never gathered enough evidence to prove Simpson had help.
The defense, however, could count on the cool expertise of forensics experts Baden and Lee. Says Cochran: "One talked about the length of the time of the struggle, the other talked about the crime scene. The prosecution had nobody who could match them. Juror No. 6 said Henry Lee was the most impressive witness in the trial."
WORDS TO JUDGE BY
MARCIA CLARK HAD DECIDED WAY BACK in June 1994 how she wanted to conclude this case. The trial, she always knew, would have to end with the voice of Nicole Brown's terrified voice on tape pleading for police help. Chris Darden stayed up until 4:30 in the morning writing his closing argument. What the jurors never heard was a line he considered in an early draft about Cochran and the role of racism in the trial: how the right of free speech does not include the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there is no fire.
To the end, however, Cochran found himself annoyed with Darden. After the prosecution rested its case, according to Cochran, Darden said, "Now Johnnie, you're in trouble. It's time to put up or shut up." That was too much for Cochran. "Man, you know, that was an invitation. That was not wise. I took umbrage at that."
In his closing arguments, Cochran's most effective pitch played off the Darden glove gambit, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." The rhythm might be that of a black Baptist preacher, but the inspiration came from Uelmen. "I first suggested [the phrase] after the glove experiment," he recalls. "But what I was really proposing was that it would provide a good theme for the whole argument, because so much of the other circumstantial evidence didn't fit into the prosecution's scenario." The slogan--and the idea behind it--proved pivotal. "I was really heartened by what I've heard from jurors so far that they really understood what proving beyond a reasonable doubt was all about," says Uelmen.