Robert Kardashian Has Doubts About O.J. Simpson On 'American Crime Story' & Raises An Important Question
Throughout its portrayal of the trial that would find O.J. Simpson not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has caused Robert Kardashian to emerge as arguably the most sympathetic member of the Dream Team. When it comes to his friendship with O.J. Simpson, he has been depicted as loyal to a fault. In the March 15 episode "Conspiracy Theories," David Schwimmer's character addressed a question that had apparently been weighing on his mind, as Kardashian asked why no other suspects had emerged despite the intense media coverage of the murders. It was an emotional scene and post-trial interviews with Kardashian indicate that it accurately depicted his inner turmoil when it came to his friend's case.
Kardashian's speech was preceded by another tense moment. Since witnesses saw him carrying Simpson's garment bag shortly after the murders, questions were raised about whether or not the bag could have contained evidence. American Crime Story depicts Kardashian as being shaken by this allegation, which leads him to open the bag. With A.C. Cowlings (played here by Malcolm-Jamal Warner) watching, Kardashian sifts through every item in the Louis Vuitton garment bag. When nothing incriminating is found, the relief on his face is palpable — but his distress hadn't disappeared, either. He asks A.C. who he thinks did commit the murders, and Kardashian expresses sadness that his son had been teased at school because his dad was on Simpson's defense team. He went on to say that:
I'm really struggling here, A.C. Everyone has stopped working to see who did it. I keep going over it again and again. Everything I know about Nicole, everything I can learn about Ron Goldman... There's never been more information, more media coverage, more detectives all about one thing, one crime. Ever. Ever. And there's just... Nothing. No other suspect. No other answer. There's nothing else.
Cowlings responds in the scene by questioning whether or not Kardashian truly believes his friend is innocent. In a defeated tone, Kardasian states: "I didn't mean it like that."
Of course, the biggest question on any viewer's mind at this point is: did this exchange really happen? Well, not exactly — according to a 1996 CNN article about an interview with Barbara Walters, Kardashian claimed that the bag was never opened at all. He also alleged that he tried to hand the bag over to the police, but they didn't take it:
They never sought to do so, in fact when we turned it in to the court nine months later, they still never did any tests to see if there was blood. I don't believe they really wanted to know the answer. I think it was better to leave speculation and to let the public think there was something sinister about these bags!
However, this American Crime Story scene still reflects an important reality — after the trial, Kardashian admitted that he wasn't convinced Simpson was innocent. In the same interview with Walters, he stated "I have doubts" about Simpson's innocence — and he even said he would voice those doubts if he was called to testify in the civil suit. Kardashian also said that Simpson flunked a lie detector test given by the defense, something that was depicted early in the series.
Though he may not have actually opened the bag the way Schwimmer's version of Kardashian did in the show, the powerful scene eluded to the apparent inner struggle that Kardashian seemed to have grappled with during the case.
Image: Byron Cohen/FX