Tag Archives: Faye Resnick

Beyond Larry King’s Freudian Slip

The anecdote in the opening paragraph of The Atlantic’s June 16, 2016, O.J.: Made in America Is Vital Storytelling review…

Buried in the fourth part of O.J.: Made in America, ESPN Films’s masterful eight-hour documentary about the O.J. Simpson murder case, is a telling little Freudian slip from the then-CNN host Larry King, whose network had turned news coverage of the trial into an unprecedented 24/7 marathon. He had just met with Lance Ito, the presiding judge in the trial, and King was asked by a news crew if he wanted Ito to appear on Larry King Live. “Sure, we’d love to have him after the show is over. After the trial is over,” he said, catching himself. “It is like a show.”

…might have happened.  I don’t know. But I do know it doesn’t tell the whole story. Whoever the news crew was apparently didn’t know that King had asked for Ito to be on his show before King met him during the trial. The saga of how that meeting came about is documented on pages 65-67 of my book Anatomy of a Trial, for which I’m pretty much to blame.

Learning that King planned to be in L.A. and wanted to attend the trial, I suggested to Ito that he might meet with him to thank him. King’s was the only news broadcast or talk show that granted Ito’s request to delay by one day interviewing Faye Resnick about her rush-to-print tell-all “diary”. King also read the entire statement from Ito on a show he had asked the judge to appear on with members of the media who were unhappy about his courtroom rules and restrictions.

The rest of The Atlantic review about the ESPN documentary seemed OK to me, but then I’ve only gotten through Part 3, so far. So this blog post is based on second-hand information, since I haven’t watched Part 4, which contains the scene described in The Atlantic review’s opening ‘graph.

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The Wrong and the Right of OJS Episode 4

Most of what FX got wrong in the fourth installment of its People vs. O.J. Simpson miniseries was either minutia most people wouldn’t care about or reinforced misperceptions they already have, or even worse, created misperceptions that those who weren’t born then or were too young to have known about it.

First is the trial judge, Lance Ito’s glee or even giddiness upon learning that the Simpson case had been assigned to him. Just a few months before the murders Simpson would be accused of committing even happened, Ito spoke at a conference I also participated in, in which he said any judge who wanted a high-profile trial should have his head examined. Ito had past experience with trials like that and knew they created headaches no one would want. I had also had some experience in that arena with both the Rodney King-beating and the Menendez brothers-parricide trials.

Ito was much more astounded and flummoxed by the crazy media coverage than “star-struck.” He was a highly regarded jurist and probably one of the smartest individuals I’ve known. His flaw, so far as I’m concerned was his naiveté. He neither welcomed nor craved the media attention.

Of all the TV talk shows that Faye Resnick appeared on in connection with her rushed-to-print book, it was surprising that the miniseries producers chose Larry King Live for its production. When Ito learned that the book was to be released before the jury was seated, he instructed me to contact all the popular TV talk shows and ask to delay booking Resnick until he could sequester the jury. Larry King is the only talk show host who agreed to do so.

Otherwise, the niggling things that bothered me was the lousy casting of Ito’s bailiff, Guy Magnera. I look more like Magnera than the guy that played him in this show.

The preliminary hearing judge in the case was Kathleen Kennedy-Powell, an attractive middle-aged woman, not the old white guy who was cast in that role.

One would have thought that with all the attractive, leggy blonde actresses to chose from the show’s casting director would have had no problem finding one who looked credibly like the defense team’s jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, instead of the gnome who got the part.

On the plus side, Joseph Siravo is a dead-ringer in both looks and passion as Fred Goldman, whose son Ronald was murdered along side Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown.

I understood the focus group’s assessment of Marcia Clark. No matter what her intentions or self-image, she came across as a haughty know-it-all who consistently vamped into the courtroom late almost every morning, even though Ito complied (reluctantly) with her request to start the court day half-an-hour later than the normal time.

That brings me to the clocks. Ito’s courtroom had only one clock on the wall when he first got the case. After the attorneys, particularly Clark, didn’t seem to grasp the concept of time, he ordered three more — I was there the day they arrive and he had them installed. They didn’t look anything like the one in the miniseries, either. He also didn’t have his collection of hourglasses on the bench in those early days, either. He brought them out from his chambers, one by one, as another ‘subtle’ hint for the lawyers to be on time and to quit their delaying tactics.

 

 

20 Years Later: The Afterglow

Here it is 20 years since the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial and all kinds of previously undisclosed news is just now making headlines.

O.J. Simpson nearly committed suicide in Kim Kardashian’s bedroom at her dad’s house.

Kris Kardashian Jenner is finally expressing public remorse about not speaking up when she got the feeling her BFF Simpson ex-wife and eventual murder victim, Nicole Brown, thought her life was in danger. Some best friend. (BTW, interesting that when the Simpson case erupted, Faye Resnick claimed — as she promoted her hastily penned book — that SHE  was Nicole’s best friend.)

Author Lawrence Schiller, who hasn’t been seen or heard from since his book  American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the OJ Simpson Defense came out shortly after the trial, is talking about what would have been Simpson’s last words, had he, indeed, killed himself in Kim’s bedroom.

So why is all this coming out now? Oh, yeah. The 20-year anniversary of the Simpson trial and the irresistible spotlight.

The Mystery is Solved!

No, not the mystery of “Did he do it?” That was settled long ago, at least in the minds of everyone who had an opinion.

This mystery was, where did Jeffery Toobin come up with his tale of what happened in Simpson trial judge Lance Ito’s chambers when TV talk show celebrity Larry King visited during the trial?

Larry King revealed the answer himself last night at a Los Angeles Society of Professional Journalists’ super-duper, fantastic Linda Deutsch Roast. Deutsch rested her 48-year career in January as The Associated Press’s star reporter for high-profile and notorious trials since the 1969 Manson Family spectacles. Last night, journalists and media lawyers from far and wide gathered to honor and poke fun at this super-scribe and maven of courtroom dramas.

King blew in and out of last night’s soiree long enough to regale the 200 or so (my uneducated guesstimate) attendees with anecdotes and jokes, mostly about himself. (A reporter sitting next to me summed up King’s performance succinctly with his observation that, “I thought this was supposed to be about Linda.”)

One tale King told was about his visit with the judge during a break in the trial. Except for a few embellishments, such as getting a FAX signed “Lance” (he didn’t know anyone named Lance he told the Roast audience, and weren’t people named Lance gay?) inviting him to visit, King related almost word for word what Toobin wrote about that visit in his book, which Toobin promoted by calling Ito a “La-La-Land judge.”

“He had all his press clippings there,” King said last night. “He was so proud of them and he went on and on about them. Finally, I said, ‘Don’t you have to get back to the trial?’ And he said, ‘I’m the judge.’” King told about going into the courtroom where Simpson greeted him. Then saying he didn’t want to appear to favor one side over the other, King went to the prosecutors’ table and spoke to them.

Entertaining stuff. Except it never happened. I know, because I was there.

I can’t attest to the FAX signed “Lance”, but here’s what I do know, which I wrote about in Anatomy of a Trial:

“King’s assistant, Ellen Beard, called to say he was going to be in L.A. and still wanted to interview Ito or have him on his show, I knew the judge would decline. But … I thought he might consider thanking King in person for understanding his position and accommodating his requests, not just once, but twice.  First was when Ito declined to participate in a show about media complaints of restrictions in the case. King read Ito’s written statement on air, with no edits or omissions, about all he had done to accommodate the media. The second occasion was when King was the only TV talk or magazine show host who, at Ito’s request, delayed interviewing Nicole Brown Simpson’s self-described best friend Faye Resnick when her “tell-all” book came out on the eve of jury selection. So I offered to see if Ito would be willing to at least say hello to King.”

It was definitely a good intention that went south, which I included in my book “to illustrate how an event is seen, perceived, remembered and retold, particularly when hearsay forms the foundation.”

Here is how the entire visit went down:

“I accompanied King and his entourage of producer, staff assistant and college-student daughter, Chaia, from the elevator lobby through another courtroom, Department 105, and down the back hallway toward Ito’s chambers.

But instead of going in, King stood in the back doorway to the courtroom and waved to the press corps in the spectator seats.

With the help of Deputy Sheriff John Castro, who had accompanied us from the elevator, we finally steered everyone into Ito’s chambers. There, we waited for twenty minutes while court remained in session with King fidgeting impatiently, saying several times that his time was limited. When Ito took a break, rather than “rambling on about the case,” though, he spent most of the time listening to King name drop, boast about dating the defense team’s jury consultant, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, and compare Ito’s modest chambers and small courtroom to the grandiose federal courthouse and judges’ accommodations in Miami. As Ito turned his attention to Chaia and asked about her education, King, started beckoning to the defense lawyers who had gathered in the chambers’ doorway to come in.

The lawyers flooded in with King glad-handing and back-slapping them like old friends. Instead, Toobin portrays King as being concerned about Ito’s time and quotes King directly when he writes in his book that King asks Ito, “‘Don’t you have to get back to court?’” Although I was standing directly behind the sofa where King was seated, I not only didn’t hear King utter those words, that didn’t even seem to be on his mind. In fact, Ito seemed to have slipped from his mind entirely as he continued to laugh and joke with the lawyers while Ito donned and snapped up his robe. Neither did the entourage follow Ito “through the rear door into the well of the courtroom,” as Toobin relates. Both Ito and I were trapped behind the gaggle of lawyers, King and King’s entourage as they squeezed through the cramped passage behind the clerk’s chair. Peering past their heads, I watched with horror as the lockup door opened, the bailiff escort Simpson into the courtroom and Cochran start to steer King toward the defendant to greet him. My repeated, “Please don’t do that,” finally got Cochran’s attention. Later Cochran told me I needn’t have worried, he would never have let them shake hands.

King, with his group following, proceeded into the courtroom well where King greeted the prosecution team. Then King’s daughter, who had followed him into the courtroom, drew a raised eyebrow and a “you don’t want to go in there!” from Simpson and a laugh from the spectators when she turned to leave and, with the help of her famous father, tried to pull open the wrong door—the one that led into the courtroom’s inmate lockup area.”

As I note on my website at www.anatomyofatrial.com, “…New Yorker writer/CNN legal analyst Jeffry Toobin shows why courts don’t–and shouldn’t–permit hearsay testimony. Pages 65-67”

Listening to King last night reminded me of how horrified I felt when I learned that that a TV series-in-the-making that is being promoted harder and more furiously than the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing debacle is based on Toobin’s book.

Yep, my suggestion that Ito thank King in person was indeed a good intention that went south – a direction it continues to sink to to this day.

Hiring ‘Reality’ Star Won’t Make it the Real Deal

As the makers of the upcoming Simpson murder trial TV series on “American Crime Story” continue to hype names of cast members who will portray trial participants, signs loom that the TV production will be as problematic and flawed as the book its based on.

Today’s announcement was that Lisa Rinna will play Kris Jenner.

If the series is to bear any semblance of reality, and I have my doubts, considering the source of the material, Rinna will have little more than a walk-on part. Kris Jenner attended the trial a grand total of one day. During her brief time in the courtroom, she sat in her nearly nine-month bun-in-the-oven condition next to her husband of the moment, Bruce Jenner, while her husband of a previous moment and member of Simpson’s defense ‘dream team’, Robert Kardashian, sat at the defense table next to his famous client.

There was nothing note-worthy or even interesting about Kris Jenner’s presence in the courtroom.

The now infamous “Kardashians” at that time in 1995 were a thing long into the future.

In an apparent attempt to inflate Kris Jenner’s connection to the trial, ACS promoters point out that Kris Kardashian-cum Jenner and murder victim Nicole Brown gal pal Faye Resnick, whose dashed-off book hit news stands before the trial’s opening statements even got underway, were both friends of Nicole Brown.

Methinks, the following observation in The Celebrity Cafe.com story is the real reason for the Rinna-Jenner creation and the need to pump up Kris Jenner as a trial participant:

“A source also said that producers are excited for ‘the publicity that will come from hiring Lisa.’”

Oh, that Simpson ACS creators would base their series on Anatomy of a Trial — or at least read it.

Very Strange Odd Couples

The headline, Faye Resnick Parties at Kris Jenner’s 59th Birthday Party!, which popped up in the news a day or two ago, sparked a throwback moment for me.

The day was Sept. 27, 1995. As described on page 67 of Anatomy of a Trial: Public Lost, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson:

“Another day of a strange star alignment occurred less than a week before the trial ended. On September 27, [Judge Lance] Ito had given the two courtroom seats he held in reserve for his use, generally for visiting judges, his parents, or other relatives, to songwriter David Foster, whom he knew, and Foster’s wife. The wife had previously been married to former Olympian [Bruce] Jenner. And there in the court that same day was Jenner with his current [extremely pregnant with Kendall] wife [Kris], who was the ex-wife of Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian. [Yes, THAT Kris Kardashian.] The Jenners sat with former baseball star [Steve] Garvey and his wife, who, months earlier, had been a prosecution witness.”

The most surprising and totally inexplicable after glow of that trial and Kardashian-name ride was the meteoric rise of the Kardashian girls and brand.  Granted, Kim, was only 14 — about to turn 15 — when the Simpson verdicts came in and the trial ended, but I’ve often wondered what, if any, the name recognition her dad achieved, thanks to his role in the Simpson case, had to do with the fame his ex and progeny gained nearly two decades later.

Fastest Book in the West to Get Published

Faye Resnick is hot.

She starts the talk show circuit.

Sequestration cinched.

10/19/94

Publisher Dove Books rushed Nicole Brown-friend Faye Resnick’s book, Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, to press. It hit bookstores and news stands on the eve of jury selection and Resnick hit the TV talk shows. Speculation was that as a result, the jury would, no doubt, be sequestered.