Was O.J. Simpson Asked For His Autograph In Jail? 'American Crime Story' Wasn't All Wrong
On Tuesday night, FX aired its season finale of The People V. O.J. Simpson which showed O.J. Simpson's acquittal for murdering ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. In the episode, Simpson's (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) defense attorney Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) gives his closing statement, the famous last words, "If you don't stop this cover-up, who will? If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," referring to the ill-fitting gloves Simpson tried on earlier in the trial. The episode also shows the football star awaiting his verdict as officers guard him, and one asked Simpson for his autograph. Fact or fiction? Was O.J. Simpson asked for his autograph in holding?
According to Jeffrey Toobin, whose book the show is loosely based on, this fact is true. Simpson was asked for his autograph while waiting for the verdict. However, it wasn't just one officer, as portrayed in the show's finale. According to Vanity Fair, Simpson told his lawyers, "They hear from their boys over with the jury that it's going to be the last chance for them to get one." It was, indeed, the last chance for the officers guarding him to get their autographs, as Simpson walked soon after.
In early March, the O.J. Simpson case made headlines again — outside the FX series — after a knife was reportedly found on the property Simpson owned in 1998 and turned over to the LAPD. The knife was ruled out as the murder weapon just a few days before the series finale. One of the series' producers, Larry Karaszewski told Variety in an interview, "To be honest, there's been a number of knives found over the years and my thought was just, instantly, to dismiss it ... The truth about the trial is there was never a lack of evidence against O.J. Simpson. Our plot is how the trial became about something else completely."
Throughout the series, the show focused on race and racism of the early '90s and opened with footage of the 1992 police beating of Rodney King. Even 24 years later, issues of police brutality and racism continue to plague the country, with an increasing number of instances of police brutality being caught on camera. The series' producers wanted that to be evident and central to the show. Producer Scott Alexander told Variety, "We were always going to lead off with Rodney King and the L.A. riots and make that the big idea of the show. All of the shootings of black Americans, with different police departments, started about two years ago ... I'd say that led to — especially for Johnnie and Chris — much richer characters."
The series definitely brought up some important issues, from racism to violence against women, and was a well-blended mix of fact and fiction, down to the very last signature.