Let’s go back over a quarter of a century ago when former NFL running back, actor and T.V. personality O.J. Simpson had just been charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and friend, Ron Goldman. As Simpson was declared a fugitive of the law, it seemed inevitable that he was guilty. In the end, we all know Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers got him off despite an ounce of evidence suggesting he did it. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” was coined during defense attorney Johnny Cochran’s famous closing argument regarding a bloody glove found at the crime scene soaked in O.J. Simpson’s DNA. Those words stuck with the jury as O.J. was acquitted of all charges that included a double homicide.
Now to the present day, the impeachment trial of Donald Trump has filled and covered T.V. screens across America. This was an impeachment trial, not a murder trial, however, it revolves around the possible abuse of power and obstruction of Congress by the President. It’s reasonable to equate President Donald Trump as the modern-day O.J. Simpson of American politics. Trump, in many respects, was in the same position as O.J. to walk away from his trial without conviction. Evidently, both were acquitted of their accused crimes, as convictions were never given.
Trump’s “dream team” consisting of Alan Dershowitz, who also served on O.J.’s defense team, has the narrative set in America’s favor. Like the Simpson trial, Dershowitz didn’t try to make a case that Trump didn’t do it either. Why would they do that? A brief rundown: Trump released the transcript notes from his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The central premise of what was said came down to Trump asking the Ukrainian president to do him a favor by investigating his Democratic and potential election rival, Joe Biden. Trump’s motive established that he hadn’t withheld aid to Ukraine in 2017 or 2018, but nearly withheld $400 million in aid in 2019.
This time around, the House managers functioned as acting prosecutors skilled in presenting concrete evidence against Trump. The defense team proved to America why they are the best of the best. In reality, none of this matters now. O.J. Simpson is a free man after doing a little time. Donald Trump was acquitted on all charges. Trump once claimed he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and get away with it. After this impeachment trial, I believe it. Over twenty-five years after the O.J. Simpson case began, our views on social justice, celebrity image, and race identity have undoubtedly transformed over time. Now, as the impeachment of President Donald Trump concludes, I ask myself, will we always be able to buy our way out of guilt?