The O.J. Simpson civil trial resumes today, and with it, the defense strategy of connect the dots.
Simpson’s main defense, just as in the criminal trial, is to contend that he was set up for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman. But he has no direct evidence of the frame-up. No one saw anyone plant anything anywhere - at least, no one willing to take the witness stand.
So Simpson’s lawyers must piece together their conspiracy theory from circumstantial evidence: blood missing from a vial, cops deviating from standard procedure, police logs reflecting inaccurate times, new evidence turning up months after the murders. The defense contends that linking those dots properly reveals a picture of Simpson as an innocent man wrongly accused. The plaintiffs insist that the correct drawing unmasks Simpson as a killer.
It will be up to jurors in the deliberation room to decide just how to connect the dots. But in the meantime, Simpson’s lawyers are working hard to nudge them toward the defense version.
Throughout the defense case, Simpson’s attorneys have spiked their questions with liberal doses of their conspiracy theory. Since they won’t get help from the witness stand, they have taken it on themselves to broadcast their contentions from the podium - even if they have to do it by asking questions that the judge rules inappropriate.
Lead defense attorney Robert C. Baker “is trying to get his theory in front of the jury the only way he can,” Los Angeles civil attorney Deborah David observed.
Take, for example, Simpson’s Ford Bronco.
Several people have testified that they peeked into Simpson’s Bronco within days of the murders and observed no bloodstains on the side of the console. Yet blood was collected from that location months later - and it proved to be highly incriminating, as it contained DNA consistent with Goldman and O.J. Simpson.