“I did not want [Simpson] to try on the evidence gloves. I never did,” failed O.J. prosecutor Marcia Clark tells”Dateline NBC” in a TV special airing this week. “That was [Darden’s] call. … I was miserable from the moment that Chris said, ‘No, I’m doing this.’ And I never expected anything good to come of it.”
Unbelievable. How petty, unfair and low of Clark at this late date to start trying to blame others on the prosecuting team for losing a murder case that should have been won! It is decades later, the story is part of U.S. legal, racial and cultural lore, and everyone has known that Darden was tricked into the bloody gloves trap by Johnnie Cochran for almost all of that time. There is no justification for Clark to turn on her colleague now.
Clark is hardly blameless herself: she was the genius who put Mark Furman on the stand. I watched the whole trial (I was out of work and sick at the time), and the entire prosecution was botched. This was a reasonably competent team of local prosecutors chosen less for their superior skills than for their race and gender, against a team of wily, experienced, high-priced defense attorneys way, way out of their league who made Darden and Clark look like first year law students. Helped by an inept and over-matched judge, Darden and Clark were both embarrassed and out-lawyered.
It was a tragedy for both of them: neither has recovered professionally or emotionally. They should be supporting each other; neither has standing to point fingers, but never mind that: professionals on a team don’t do this to each other, not when they have been part of a team.
I can’t be too hard on Clark. She’s a broken woman, bitter and angry, not just because she let a brutal double-killer escape a guilty verdict, but also because she failed on national TV and was professionally humiliated. Turning on Darden now is as sad as it is nasty. It is also a betrayal.
And speaking of gloves: when Mookie Wilson’s dribbler rolled under Bill Buckner’s glove in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Buckner became an infamous goat, abused in Boston and ridiculed everywhere else. Buckner was bitter and angry about it, but he never tried to deflect blame upon his team mates, several of whom were as responsible for losing that game and, the next day, the World Series as he was. That was 30 years ago, and he still hasn’t pointed an accusing finger at his manager, John McNamara, who had lifted him for a more mobile fielder in every ninth inning with a lead that whole season, except that one; or at the choking rookie reliever, Calvin Schiraldi, who couldn’t get the last out with the bases empty and a two run lead;or at ace Roger Clemens, who begged out of the game with a blister, or at Rich Gedman, who missed a catchable pitch that let the tying run score that inning. No, Bill Buckner has accepted all of the blame, not happily, because it has adversely affected his family and career, but without ever turning on his team mates.
That’s because he is an honorable, fair, trustworthy professional.
Marsha Clark isn’t.