Los Angeles

Gil Garcetti Talks OJ Simpson Trial Choices

Former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti has kept a relatively low profile since leaving that post in 2000, but he'll likely be back in the news for at least a day or two thanks to his comments on the O.J. Simpson case.

In an interview with the New York Post published Sunday, Garcetti — the father of current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — revealed that he didn't want Marcia Clark to be the lead prosecutor in the famous 1995 double murder case.

"She wasn't my choice — I didn't pick her," he told the newspaper. "Marcia is a very good lawyer, but one of the things with her was that she didn't heed the advice of our trial consultant who told her not to pick African-American women — particularly black mothers — for that jury."

"She didn't listen and once she did that, there was no chance that we'd get a guilty verdict, although I still thought we'd get two or three jurors to hold out for a hung jury."

Simpson was acquitted of the June 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ronald Goldman on Oct. 3, 1995, after a sensational trial that dragged on for months and was televised live to a rapt nation, which seemed divided over the verdict along racial lines.

 Other juicy tidbits from the interview included a conversation with former President Jimmy Carter during the trial, in which Garcetti says Carter told him, "Gil, forget it, they are going to find him not guilty. The verdict will be about payback."

"There have been too many blacks who have been convicted and even executed. O.J. is not going to do it again," the former president said, according to Garcetti.

The 74-year-old Garcetti also went on to say he thought Simpson got a raw deal in his 2008 armed robbery conviction in Nevada. The former NFL star and actor is currently serving a 33-year sentence in a case related to sports memorabilia.

"If it were a white guy, a white Heisman Trophy winner ... there's no way that anyone would have gotten 33 years for that," he said.

The impetus for Garcetti's recollections was the recently aired FX miniseries, "The People vs. O.J. Simpson," in which Garcetti was played by actor Bruce Greenwood. The former DA said he's only watched the first three episodes of the 10-episode series so far — he's taped the rest.

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