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Johnnie, We Hardly Knew ‘Ye

Johnnie Cochran closing argument

Johnnie Cochran, O.J. Simpson’s lead trial lawyer in the infamous L.A./Brentwood murder trial, died quietly last night of an inoperable brain tumor. Yes, he was gaudy, liked fancy suits, bling and publicity, and talked a lot (actually, an awful lot), but his closing statement in 1995 for O.J. was one of the best performances — and by far the best televised closing argument — by a trial lawyer ever. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Wow! Listen for yourself.

Now O.J. is all alone in his quest to find the “real killers.” It’s so sad (NOT)! What’s refreshing, however, is that — despite his star-studded clientelle and amazingly high income — Cochran always took on free legal cases for the disdvantaged, saying that his most rewarding efforts were in representing what he called the “No-J’s.” That’s class and integrity, even if he did get a murderer off with flim-flam rhetoric and snake oil.