Christopher Darden is a desperate man or a complete idiot.
Seventeen years after Darden was banished into obscurity after he unsuccessfully prosecuted O.J. Simpson for murder in the so-called “Trial of the Century,” Darden is trying to step out of the shadows and back into the public spotlight.
Darden, the former Los Angeles deputy district attorney, is now accusing the late Johnnie Cochran, Simpson’s former lead attorney, of tampering with evidence by “manipulating” one of the gloves that Darden linked to the double murder of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
In one of the most captivating moments in the Simpson trial – and in a highly-theatrical move that inflamed racial tensions across America – Cochran asked Simpson to try on the glove, which he showed the jury was too tight.
"If it doesn't fit,” Cochran famously told the jury, “you must acquit."
Now, 17 years later, Darden claims Cochran intentionally altered the glove to get Simpson acquitted.
"I think Johnnie tore the lining,” Darden said last week during a panel discussion at Pace Law School in New York. “There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.'s fingers couldn't go all the way up into the glove."
"A bailiff told me the defense had it during the lunch hour,” Darden said. "It's been my suspicion for a long time that the lining has been manipulated."
So why is Darden suddenly going public with this explosive accusation? Why didn’t he raise this issue during the trial if he felt that Cochran had somehow compromised his legal ethics? Why didn’t he accuse Cochran to his face when Cochran was alive?
Does Darden hate Cochran because Cochran outsmarted him in court while the world watched in amazement?
Darden never filed an ethics violation against Cochran with the bar association; he never took formal action with the district attorney’s office where he once worked; he never took his grievance to the judge.
This is a cheap shot by Darden – a cowardly move – to accuse Cochran when Cochran is not here to defend himself. Cochran died in 2005 from a brain tumor at age 67.
"Having made the greatest legal blunder of the 20th Century," Alan Dershowitz, who was part of Simpson’s legal team, said of Darden, "he's trying to blame it on the dead man."
This absurd allegation may be Darden’s desperate cry for attention and an attempt to return to the headlines. He’s still practicing law, but he hasn’t enjoyed the kind of celebrity that he experienced during Simpson’s high-profile trial.
Simpson is serving up to 33 years in prison for a 2007 armed robbery in which he claimed he was trying to recover his own football mementos.
I feel some empathy toward Darden; perhaps he just can’t let go of the past because, after all, the Simpson trial was the highlight of Darden's legal career.
“In some ways I'm still recovering from the trial,” Darden said several years ago. “My health is not as good as it ought to be. I've gone back to practicing law and it seems to have taken a toll for whatever reason.”
It may be time for Darden to take another break because he’s starting to sound like a man who will say anything to get his name back in print.
But Darden should also do some serious soul-searching: He needs to figure out why 17 years later he still feels compelled to cast doubt on Cochran’s brilliant legal strategy that ultimately torpedoed Darden’s rise to notoriety.
Watch video of Johnnie Cochran in court below.