We all were at war,
Then gathered in Clark’s honor.
Author Joe McGinniss hosted a gathering to honor and memorialize Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Robin Clark a few days after he was killed in a car crash. The memorial was held at a house in Beverly Hills McGinniss was renting while he attended the Simpson trial. (Even though McGinniss occupied one of the highly coveted courtroom media seats, and had presented a letter from a publisher who had contracted with McGinniss to write a book about the trial, he never did.) The gathering included not only the trial press corps, but members of the defense and prosecution teams and Simpson’s sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Bennie Baker. Although the trial judge, Lance Ito, was also invited, he declined and asked me to represent him.
Here’s a short excerpt from Anatomy of a Trial about that remarkable evening:
“People hugged and mingled and talked quietly after arriving. I couldn’t help but think that no one would ever have known that some of these people were on opposite sides in a double-murder trial. McGinniss talked about some of the conversations he had had with Clark, including one about the difficulty Clark had reconciling himself with his father, an educated man who became a derelict and hung out on street corners with ne’er-do-wells.
“’Recently,’ McGinniss said, ‘Robin had started writing about his father and gave me the few first pages for an assessment. After reading them, I told him to keep going.’
“But, of course, the rest of the story died with Robin in the car crash.
“McGinniss invited anyone else who want to speak to do so.
“AP reporter Deutsch stepped forward. After relating several anecdotes about Clark, she surveyed the group. While most of the people present were strangers at the beginning of the Simpson case, she observed, ‘Like it or not, we have become a family.’
“But that was a brief and rare moment of unity in an otherwise distinctly dysfunctional ‘family,’ rife with bickering, rivalry, contempt, envy and disparate philosophies, perspectives and goals.”