The latest "true crime" craze didn’t start with Making A Murderer or Serial — no, it goes way further back than that, to the O.J. Simpson trial. Judge Lance Ito was among the first judges to allow television cameras into his courtroom, which is one reason why the public became so fascinated with the trial, it's still being talked about over 20 years later. Since viewers could see all the happenings at Simpson’s trial, in which he was found not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, they could see all the witnesses too. Some witnesses in the Simpson trial even became minor celebrities. He was at the center of a media storm in 1994, but where is Kato Kaelin today? Bustle has reached out to Kaelin for comment and has not yet received a response.
According to The Daily Mail, Kaelin was an actor friend of Simpson’s who was staying on Simpson’s property on June 12, 1994, the night Brown Simpson and Goldman were killed. Kaelin testified at Simpson's trial and in February 2016, wrote an op-ed for The Daily News about how much he disliked the experience. He wrote:
“It was my first time ever in a courtroom. Never even a traffic ticket — nothing. Suddenly I was thrust into the limelight in a double-murder trial that involved a national hero. I’ll say it again: I was one of the few people who DIDN'T want to be there.”
Public perception of Kaelin was swift and hurtful — as reported by The Daily Mail, Kaelin told TODAY that he felt he was portrayed as a “bum” and that people mistook his nervousness for lying. Things were so bad for Kaelin that, as he told Oprah for a Where Are They Now? special, he used to get death threats after the trial. "It was rather scary to know they knew where I lived. I had people that would actually slide notes under my door," Kaelin claimed.
Luckily for Kaelin, he’s found a career outside of the trial. He had a radio show for a while, and he owns a clothing line called Slackerwear. Kaelin also now hosts the Sports Haters Show on Dish Network, where he and co-host Will Stumpe talk the day’s biggest sports news, interview athletes, and more.
Of course, Kaelin couldn’t keep mum on all of the Simpson projects that have recently popped up. In reference to his portrayal on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Kaelin said to Oprah, “As far as the acting goes, I think it’s terrific. Billy Magnussen, the actor, is [a] terrific actor. His choice of how he plays me is incorrect. I really wish I had a chance to meet him beforehand, but it was his choice not to meet."
Kaelin has also commented on the real case. Though Simpson has maintained his innocence in the murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman, in 2015 Kaelin claimed to Barbara Walters, "In my opinion, yes, I think he’s guilty. In hindsight of everything, like 20 years later, I think that O.J. Simpson is guilty."