Marcia Clark’s article on the Casey Anthony verdict is so tainted with obvious conflicts of interest that it should have been rejected by The Daily Beast…or rather would be rejected by any website more selective and less shameless than the Daily Beast. This would be any fair site that does not deal in over-the-top opinion as a matter of course.
Marcia, like her colleague Chris Darden, is a rather tragic figure these days. The former lead prosecutor in the O.J. case is struggling to make it as a pundit, freshly botoxed and rendered almost unrecognizable so as to be fetching in those close-ups. After she sold the inevitable cash-in book about the Trial of the Century, she has wandered in the C-List celebrity wilderness, and will soon join Newt Gingrich and William Shatner as a celebrity novelist. She will be remembered, quite correctly, as the prosecutor who botched the O.J. murder trial, even if we give Darden an assist for the gloves debacle. (Why cable news shows insist on recycling failures as experts is an enduring mystery, the mystery being “how can the producers look themselves in the mirror after choosing recognizable flops over less well-known but more accomplished authorities?”)
But Clark apparently saw an opportunity in the Casey Anthony verdict to rehabilitate her tarnished reputation, and grabbed it. The result is “Worse Than O.J.!”, a new low in self-serving analysis.
You could write her piece right now—I’ll give you twenty minutes—and you’ll be 90% accurate. Clark uses the Anthony verdict to bring up all the factors that were lined up against an O.J. conviction and to point out that none of these confounding factors were impeding the Anthony prosecution. Her real motive, of course, is to make the case that lousy prosecution—her prosecution—wasn’t the reason O.J. got away with a double murder. If she has to misrepresent the legal system and impugn the Anthony jury to do it, well, that’s what she’s going to do.
This is a blatant attempt to avoid accountability for the Simpson trial fiasco, disguised as Anthony trial “analysis.” Clark has never accepted responsibility for losing the trial that effectively ended her career, and “Worse Than O.J.!” is a particularly offensive attempt to continue the pattern. Sure, Marcia; even though the O.J. prosecution had evidence of threats, motive, prior abuse, a bloody footprint, DNA and more, the Casey Anthony case, which depended entirely on using suspicious post-death conduct to prove a murder without motive, weapon, physical evidence or cause of death, the jury’s verdict in the Anthony trial was worse than the O.J. verdict. How convenient. And how untrue.
Clark is quite literally the last prosecutor on earth who should be entrusted with a fair, dispassionate analysis of the Anthony trial, because she has so much to gain by making the verdict currently being (wrongly) compared to the O.J. verdict seem similarly unjust. The Daily Beast caps Clark’s article with this biographical blurb:
“Marcia Clark, the former L.A. district attorney who prosecuted the O.J. Simpson murder case, has since served a regular legal television commentator. She has written a bestselling book, Without a Doubt, and served as a columnist for Justice Magazine. Her debut crime novel will be published by Little, Brown in April of 2011.”
If it was interested in giving its readers the information they needed in order to give Clark’s analysis its proper weight and credibility, what The Daily Beast should have added was something more like this:
“Marcia Clark is the former L.A. district attorney who prosecuted the O.J. Simpson murder case, and is widely regarded by legal analysts to have lost the trial due to poor jury selection, mistaken choice of venue, a flawed strategy and inadequate screening of witnesses. Thoroughly out-lawyered by Simpson’s high-priced team of defense whizzes, Clark has been on a decades-long mission to cast the blame for the Simpson trial debacle on anyone and anything other than her own inadequacies. This article continues that mission.”