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Prosecutor Marcia Clark on What Went Wrong During the O.J. Simpson Trial

Lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, Marcia Clark. She has since stepped down as Prosecutor in the Office of the Los Angeles District Attorney. She has a new memoir about the trial and her experiences: "Without a Doubt" (Viking).

43:58

Other segments from the episode on May 13, 1997

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, May 13, 1997: Interview with Marcia Clark; Review of Hanson's album "Middle of Nowhere."

Transcript

Show: FRESH AIR
Date: MAY 13, 1997
Time: 12:00
Tran: 051302np.217
Type: FEATURE
Head: Marcia Clark
Sect: News; Domestic
Time: 12:06

TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

In her new memoir about the OJ Simpson criminal trial, lead prosecutor Marcia Clark says she's not bitter, she's angry. She asks herself over and over again: how could this jury fail to see? Was there something else the prosecution could have done or said?

Her new book goes back over the case and explains the prosecution's strategy. She also writes about the sometimes sexist and patronizing attitude she feels she faced in the courtroom, and what it was like to be going through a divorce during the trial, with her estranged husband challenging her for custody of the children.

Marcia Clark's new memoir is called "Without A Doubt." I asked her if the verdict in the civil trial made her think she could have won the criminal trial.

MARCIA CLARK, ATTORNEY, AUTHOR, "WITHOUT A DOUBT": Not at all. The verdict in the civil case was indicative of a totally different set of circumstances. And what's most interesting to me is that, in truth, the civil trial was presented in very similar manner to the criminal trial.

There are very, very few differences. The only differences that they really had of note were differences in evidence that they were able to do because it was a civil case.

For example, they were able to get a deposition from Simpson, where they were able to grill him for 10 days, and then use that and call him to the witness stand to impeach him. Those two things we could not do. We could neither depose any witness nor could we ever call the defendant to the witness stand.

Then, of course, there were the photographs of him in the Bruno Magli shoes that simply were not available to us, although, you know, putting out the testimony that we did, you would have thought that people would come forward at that time. They didn't. But they did get that value in the civil trial.

And then, of course, they got the benefit of having Simpson's failed polygraph and Nicole's diary and journal -- these are things we could never have gotten into evidence in the criminal case. As well as a strong judge, who was able to control the courtroom and prevent the defense from not only playing the race card, but from running rampant through our witnesses to play their case through the testimony of our witnesses on cross examination.

So, you have all these differences that really had nothing to do with the lawyers and had everything to do with the circumstances under which they were trying the case.

GROSS: You're very critical of the way Judge Ito handled the criminal trial, and very complimentary about how Judge Fujisaki handled the civil trial. Compare the two judges for us from your perspective.

CLARK: You had -- this was like the opposite ends of the spectrum. You had Judge Ito, who was in love with the media and totally focused on his own persona and how he was going to be publicly perceived and worried about offending the defense, who he perceived as being the celebrity side of the case, and very, you know, excited about having the stream of celebrities that he did going in and out of his chambers.

And then on the other end of the spectrum, you had Judge Fujisaki, who not only couldn't care less about his public image, but was so focused on the trial and what was important -- getting the truth out -- that he actually kicked the cameras out completely, gagged the lawyers, and did everything appropriate that a judge would do; kept himself out of the limelight; kept such a low profile that no one would even know anything about him were it not for the fact that the press actively sought out the information, whatever little information they could get.

By way of contrast, Judge Ito gave a five-part interview on a national news network during the beginning of the trial, about himself and his personal background. During the course of the trial, celebrities that would come to watch the trial were ushered into chambers to meet with him. When they asked to meet me, the judge would demand that I go into chambers to meet with these celebrities, which was -- I found it completely offensive.

And then worse than that, because he was so worried about somebody objecting to him being too heavy with the defense, he was constantly looking for a way to give them some benefit, to give them the benefit of any motion, just in order to look like a good guy, even when it made no sense at all.

GROSS: Nevertheless, you fought against having Judge Ito recuse himself after it was revealed that his wife worked with Mark Fuhrman and Fuhrman described their interactions as hostile.

If you felt so critical of Judge Ito, why did you not want him taken off the trial?

CLARK: At that point, you know, we were torn between this counterbalance. Number one is that the case was basically, almost, it was over by that point, and we all knew it. If we were to have him recused, the only thing that would have happened is that a lot of time and money would be spent, would have been spent for nothing, because to get another judge up to speed would have taken so much time, we would have wound up losing another juror -- and another juror, we would have been in a mistrial situation.

And we were looking at basically throwing out nine months worth of work, just in order to get him recused after the trial was basically done, which would have driven everybody crazy.

And at that point, looking at the possibility of a retrial after all the stuff that had been put out on the airways, both in and out of the jury's presence, we were looking at a jury pool that would be even worse than the one that we had to begin this trial, which would have meant a certain loss the second time around.

At that point, what we were looking at was: we'd rather stay with what we've got. It's our best shot. At least this jury was sequestered through so much of the bad stuff, including Fuhrman taking the Fifth, and hope for the best right here, because it's for sure that if we have a mistrial, and we have to empanel a new jury, we're going to be in even worse shape.

So rather than anger everybody with a futile act, we decided to stay with him. I also did personally feel sorry for him at that point. I have to say, you know, to have recused him totally at that point would have been the kind of public disgrace that I thought, you know, would really harm him forever.

I didn't want that to happen, because he is not a bad man. You know, he is not a bad person. This is somebody whose judgment, I felt, was fatally flawed; who had a problem with spine, but was not an evil man.

GROSS: Jeffrey Toobin did a piece on how he thinks you lost the trial during jury selection because you rejected the advice of your jury consultant, Donald Vinson (ph) and that you thought you had special rapport with African-American women and that they would respond to the story of Nicole's death. They'd understand because black women are disproportionately the victims of domestic abuse.

Do you think that you lost the trial during jury selection, and that that was because you didn't take the advice of your jury consultant?

CLARK: No.

LAUGHTER

You know, Jeffrey Toobin -- that guy. He -- I don't know what -- who deemed him to be a clairvoyant? That he knows what everybody's thinking and, you know, how they're feeling. He certainly never asked me about any of this stuff, and it might help if you did that, to find out what I was thinking.

I never rejected that advice. In fact, I knew about the sentiments of the African-American women long before any jury consultant came on the scene. And so, nobody gave me the advice not to have African-American women on the jury.

I mean, that was not advice that was needed. We all knew that. It was self-evident from the very, very, very beginning, and I mean the grand jury beginning, that the African-American women were very sympathetic toward Simpson and were not going to like anybody, me included, who was going to be prosecuting him.

So anybody who sat in my chair was the messenger that was going to get killed. And I knew that, long before a jury consultant was around. The problem I had was that no jury consultant was willing to tell me what to do about it.

OK, fine, you know, I know that this is going to be the problem. I can't avoid the problem. I'm going to have a jury pool that's predominantly African-American and female, so tell me how to address this problem? Tell me how to find those women that can be reached.

Now it is true that in the past, I have had great rapport with women in general on juries -- black women, white women, all women. It's never been a problem for me. But I did not let that past experience convince me that it was going to be just like that in this case, because I knew this case was an aberration. This case was different.

GROSS: As part of the jury selection process, you had a mock -- a series of mock jurors that you were able to question and poll to see how they responded to certain things. And the mock jurors responded to you by calling you a bitch.

What was your reaction to that? I mean, how did -- did you take that personally? Did you think that there was something professionally in your style that you needed to change? Or did you just despair?

LAUGHTER

CLARK: All of the above. I gotta say, it wasn't all of the jurors that responded that way. Actually, there were like, I think, 17. They weren't a mock jury either. They were panelists. They were just people chosen.

And the ones who said that were the two or three African-American women. The others were very favorable, actually, in their reviews, saying smart, tough, and all that stuff. And so it was clear to me at that time, even before they spoke, I knew what was coming, that they were not going to view me favorably.

So, you know, on the emotional level, you know, I took it to heart and kind of personally. On the more rational level, I said, you know, I know where this is coming from. They want to shoot the messenger. So, if I was a white male, they would say something about that. If I had been an African-American female, I would have -- or male -- I would have been a traitor.

And so on the rational level, I knew that, but whether rational or emotional or whatever you want to call it, it gave me ample cause for despair, and that I did.

GROSS: You called the jury pool the worst pool of jurors you'd seen in 15 years. What made this pool of jurors worse than others that you'd seen?

CLARK: It was amazing -- well, of course, I'd never had a pool of jurors that was so in love with the defendant. This pool of jurors responded to every piece of evidence that should have been deemed at least somewhat incriminating, they responded to it, whenever given the opportunity, as, gee, the poor guy. Oh, my heart went out to him.

For example, the Bronco chase, OK. Here's an example of evidence that can be viewed glass half empty, glass half full. You can interpret it either way. You can say: oh, I believe him. He was going to visit his wife's grave. Or you can say: gosh, he was obviously running. The guy's guilty.

Well, this pool of jurors, every single one of them, said: oh, the poor guy. My heart went out to him. Oh, it just made me feel so bad. My family prayed for him. You know, so what you're seeing is, that -- not every single one of the jury pool, but the predominant number of them, were looking for a way to view the evidence in a light that would be favorable to the defendant, every chance they got.

And so I could see that not only was the battle uphill, but it was likely lost already.

GROSS: Did you leave the trial thinking that there should be jury reform?

CLARK: I didn't leave the trial that -- feeling that way. I started the trial feeling that way. I felt that way before the trial. I'd been trying death penalty cases for the past 10 years. One thing I saw that happened time and time again, was that death penalty cases are the lengthiest cases. They're the ones that take at least a couple months to try, generally speaking.

And for the most part, you get -- the jurors that you get are only the ones whose employers will pay them unlimited jury duty. What that means is that if you get people who are gainfully employed, whose employers won't pay them for more than 10 days, they're gone. Ninety percent of our jury pool would walk right out the door at the moment we asked them if they could stay past 10 days.

So what you've got is a very narrow segment of the population able to serve on the lengthiest of cases, and often that narrow segment was the least educated and least invested in justice.

And I've always thought that there should be some kind of reform that required the government to subsidize the smaller businesses to allow for people to serve unlimited jury duty so that we could get the broad cross section on these most serious cases that we really should have.

GROSS: My guest is Marcia Clark. She's written a new memoir called Without A Doubt. We'll talk more after our break.

This is FRESH AIR.

BREAK

GROSS: Marcia Clark is my guest, and she's written a new book about the Simpson trial called Without A Doubt.

If you had to do the trial over again, and I'm sure you hate this kind of looking back/what would you do type of stuff. Nevertheless, would you have emphasized domestic violence any more or any less than you did?

CLARK: I would not change that. Domestic violence was the core issue in this case. This was the motivation for the murder, and when people tell me that, oh, why would you use that as your primary theory as to the motive, when you know that African-American women don't believe that evidence and dismiss it, I just look at them and I say, you know: I don't know where you get that idea from.

I think that it's a racist notion. I think it is absolutely false. It's utter, complete nonsense. I have tried previous cases involving domestic violence to predominantly female black jurors and they got it very, very well. They understood it. They were receptive, and they were sympathetic.

So, to extrapolate from the aberration that this case is to all African-American women is absolutely infuriating to me. How dare you -- how dare you insult them that way? It's unfair. You know, this case was an aberration. You had a situation where you had people who were looking to avoid the truth, because they had a loyalty to Simpson that's unique, absolutely unique.

But in other cases, I have found absolutely no problem in all of them understanding the evidence and accepting it and putting it in the proper perspective in the case -- assigning it the appropriate significance. So, I would certainly not change that, because that was the truth.

GROSS: You're saying that a lot of the jurors overlooked certain things because they really liked the celebrity, OJ Simpson. You hardly knew who Simpson was when you took on the trial. Do you feel like that was a liability for you -- not really understanding his place in American pop culture and in African-American culture?

CLARK: No, actually, I think it was probably a plus, because you can come to understand that, you know, reading through the questionnaires, talking to people. I came to understand that. What was good about my perspective was that I was very neutral.

You know, I came at this case with no preconceptions about the defendant, either positive or negative. I just came at it knowing I'd heard the name before and it meant nothing to me. So, I was able to be very impartial, very objective about what I saw.

I had no vendetta against him. I had no great loyalty for him, and I think that's the perfect frame of mind for a prosecutor. But had I started out with some kind of a bias on either direction, it would have been much harder for me to learn objectively about what I'm confronting on the jury and deal with it, or view the evidence in the properly neutral light. So actually, I think it was a great plus.

GROSS: Looking back, what do you think was the prosecution's biggest mistake in the trial?

CLARK: Well, I think I would take that -- let me take it from my biggest mistakes.

GROSS: Sure.

CLARK: I think, you know, 'cause I don't think that anything that anyone else did in the trial, or really myself either, would have made a difference, to tell you the truth, given what we had. But I think my biggest mistakes were number one, accepting Judge Ito for our judge.

Now...

GROSS: In the beginning.

CLARK: ... in the very beginning, right. We had the chance to recuse him because you're allowed a challenge to a judge -- one challenge. But at the time, there were two or three other judges that I thought would be far worse than he was.

And Bill and I really conferred about it. Bill had already -- Bill Hodgman (ph) had already tried a case in front of him and said, you know, he wasn't great, but, you know, he's probably better than these other two or three we were looking at.

And at that point, I said, you know, OK. Neither one of us -- neither Bill nor I -- was in love with the idea of having him as the trial judge, but knowing what we could wind up with if we challenged him, we had no more challenges. That's -- wherever we got sent, we'd be stuck. Knowing that we could wind up in worst places, we decided to stay with him.

Now on the other hand, there was no way Bill could have know, or I could have known, how bad he would be -- how bad the mis-match was. I mean, this was something that we could only know by playing it out. How could you know that the guy was a celebrity lover?

How could you know that he was so star-struck? And that was the exact wrong chemistry for this case. What you needed was somebody like Fujisaki, who didn't care about cameras; who didn't care about celebrity. But, you know, that's not something we could know because neither one of us had had that kind of experience with him.

GROSS: Another mistake?

CLARK: Another mistake would be not appealing the "n" word ruling. We initially got Judge Ito to rule, appropriately, that the "n" word should not be allowed unless the defense could show, by way of offer of proof, as to how Mark Fuhrman could have planted the glove.

Unless you could show that Mark Fuhrman could have planted the glove, there's no reason to show that he was biased against the defendant. You know, if he's biased against the defendant, it doesn't mean anything if he couldn't have done anything bad to screw up the case. You know what I mean?

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

CLARK: So, why put that in? So, the judge initially ruled appropriately that he would not be -- they -- the defense would not be permitted to put on any evidence of racial animus unless they could show how he could have planted the glove. They never did it. They never came forward with any of that offer of proof. No evidence, because there never could be any.

And then Bailey, on the day they were supposed to make their offer of proof, got up and basically screamed at Ito, and intimidated him into changing his ruling. And he reversed himself 180 degrees for no reason that I could ever understand.

In fact, I went back and looked at the transcript three times to figure out where the reasoning was. There was no reasoning. He just said: now, I think they can do it, because -- just because.

And at the time, I debated with other team members the advisability of appealing that ruling. Now, what you should know is that a mid-trial appeal is very, very, very seldom granted by the Court of Appeals because they don't like to step in and mess in with what the trial court is doing mid-stream.

When you try and get that appeal to go, your trial judge is going to get very angry. You know, you've questioned his judgment. It's like, you know, it's like a big disrespect. And that was at the very beginning of the trial.

We thought, you know what, it's really a long-shot and it probably won't get granted, and all we're going to wind up doing is making Ito really angry and hate us, even, you know, treat us badly in front of the jury early on in the case. So we thought, you know, it's not worth the risk.

In hindsight, you know, seeing the way he did treat us and even though we didn't take the route, seeing the way he did treat us, I wish we had. I wish we had just taken every possible chance to go ahead and try and reverse a terrible, terrible ruling that assured us of getting at best a hung jury if not a downright acquittal just from that point forward.

GROSS: You write in your book: "this may shock my critics, but I'm proud of the job I did with Mark Fuhrman." What are you proud of?

CLARK: I think that we handled it -- I think I handled it the only way I could, given what I knew at the time. It's very, very hard to strip away what you've learned, and view things with hind -- from hind -- from this point in time, with what we knew at the time.

You know, we all know a whole lot more now than we did, any of us on the team knew, at the time we were presenting the witnesses. Given what I knew when I knew it, when I put him on the witness stand, I thought it was handled the best way possible.

Number one thing, I'm not going to take -- call him to the witness stand and then treat him with disdain or hostility, because then the jury takes from that: well, she doesn't even believe him. She's putting him on. She doesn't believe him. She doesn't like him. What's wrong with this guy?

You put on a witness in that kind of frame of mind, a police officer, mind you, not some ex-con, and the jury's going to take its cue and think, God, especially with the stories floating around about him, you know, I don't like him; I don't believe him. And so you're doing yourself a worse detriment.

Put him on in the frame of mind that you truly have, which is to say: you know what? I know that you have become the defense patsy. I know they are using you as their scapegoat, and whatever your views may have been 15 years ago, it appears to me that you did a fair and professional job in this case, which he did.

He was a good detective in this case, and to have presented him in any other light wouldn't have been appropriate, right, or fair under the circumstances. So what I did was I put him on the witness stand as a professional detective who had done a good job, and I confronted him with the statements made by Kathleen Bell (ph) in which she claimed that he made these outrageous racist remarks, and I confronted it and I fronted it in front of that jury on my own to let them see that we had nothing to hide, and give him an opportunity to explain, admit, or deny.

And he denied it. I have to tell you that even to this day, I do not believe her, and I do believe him. I do not think that he said any of those things to her, for a variety of reasons that I do outline in the book, and there are quite a few.

So, I think that we handled his testimony in the best way possible to front him, let the jury see who he really was, and through the questioning of him, let them see that there was no way he could have planted the glove. Nor was there any motive for him to have planted the glove.

GROSS: Marcia Clark -- her new memoir is called Without A Doubt. She'll be back with us in the second half of our show.

I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

BREAK

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross, back with Marcia Clark. The lead prosecutor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial has written a memoir about the trial.

If you could do it over again, would you have introduced the Bronco chase?

CLARK: Absolutely not. You know, I can't believe -- I can't believe that people are even still talking about that. I don't know why you haven't had more experts coming out to explain to you the chess game that a trial is.

If we put on the Bronco chase, here's what happens: first of all, what we have is evidence of flight. In other words, that he left at about the time the police officers showed up. So, what did he really do? He took a powder with A.C. Cowlings, and he got as far south as his wife's grave.

And then turned back, before the police even caught on to him. Now, when he turned back is the only time that we actually found out about him. Now, what kind of evidence of flight is that? Can you take that both ways?

And with a jury predisposed to take it in his favor, what does it look like? Well, given especially the remarks that we knew they'd made in their questionnaire and during our questioning of them in face to face questioning, we have a jury that's going to look at that and say: oh, the poor man. He was distraught, going to visit his wife's grave.

OK, so the flight -- the evidence of flight that you have is already not looking too good. But then it gets even worse. If you put on that evidence that goes to his state of mind, the defense can then call all the people that he talked to on his cell phone during the Bronco chase -- all of those people that he told, in sobbing, tearful tones:

"I didn't do it. I wouldn't do it. All I wanted to do was visit her grave. I wasn't running from anything. I loved her. All I ever did was love her." Right?

If we don't put on the Bronco chase, they can't put those witnesses on. But if we do put on the Bronco chase, all those witnesses take the stand to tell in tearful tones how he denied doing anything like killing her; how all he did was love her; and he never has to take the witness stand to testify and deny anything because they will do it for him.

That would be their best gambit, is if we were to put on the Bronco chase. And as a matter of fact, Johnny would love it. He would just simply love it if we would have put it on, as any defense attorney rightfully would.

Worse than that, you have evidence that was recovered from the duffel bag in the Bronco that we couldn't explain. Here's what I mean: there was a passport, disguise, and money found on A.C. Cowlings. If we put that on, all we can do is call the police officer.

Remember, we can't call Simpson to the witness stand, which would have been great to ask him about if we could have, but we couldn't. All we can do is put on a police officer.

Officer Brown, you would have found the passport, the disguise, and then the money on A.C. Cowlings. And he would say "yes." Now, here's what the defense gets to do: officer Brown, you say you found the passport in the duffel bag?

That's right. And do you know when it was put in the duffel bag? No I don't. Oh, it could have been two months ago? Yes, it could have. I see. And do you know who put it in there? No I don't. So, it could have been his daughter? Could have. Could have been the maid? Could have. Could have been A.C. Cowlings? Could have.

You get the picture?

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

CLARK: You have a situation where we've got evidence that we don't know all the answers to, and then we have the defense able to make it look like absolutely nothing, and in front of a sympathetic jury make it look like we're making a deliberate attempt, and unfair attempt, at character assassination.

So, all this wonderful Bronco chase evidence winds up being so sympathetic to the defendant that he winds up maybe not even needing to put on a defense because he's been able to do it all through our witnesses.

GROSS: One of the really strong things you said during your closing argument to the jury, or maybe it was during your rebuttal, you said that Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson are both telling you who did it with their hair, their clothes, their bodies, their blood.

You looked at the jury while you were saying that, but all along, you felt that the jury wasn't really going to be responsive to your case. What was it like saying something like that to people who you felt weren't going to respond to it?

CLARK: You know, Terry, no one's ever asked me that before, and I think it's a great question -- such a great question. And I've thought about this so many times. It was painful. It was absolute agony.

I mean, first of all, I watched them fidgeting when Chris was talking, and saying some of the best stuff I've ever heard to them. I mean, laying it on the line and telling it right the way it was. And I saw that jury looking up in the sky, looking down at the ground, and fidgeting, and I was aching.

But when I had to get up and talk to them, first of all, it happened at two points. Number one, I put up that charge of unrefuted evidence, what we call the "pyramid" -- the mountain of evidence.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

CLARK: And I went through it all and said, you know, look it -- forget the DNA. Forget all that scientific stuff. Here's the evidence we presented that the defense has no answer for -- was unable to contradict in any way, shape or form.

And this alone is enough to convict him 10 times over. And I went through each and every one of those things, and I said: look, you won't get this chart back in the jury room, but please feel free to take notes right now. No one lifted a finger.

And I looked at them and I thought: it's over. It's over. And I was pretty sure which way it was over, too. But then, you know, when I got to the final point of telling -- you know, they're telling you with their hair, their blood -- and I just looked at them, and I thought: I gave it all I could.

I gave it 110 percent, ladies and gentlemen, you know folks, all I can do is do my very, very best. I have -- I've squeezed my last drop of blood out in this case, and if you're not going to listen, I give up.

And it really, at that point, looked to me like they weren't listening, but I could at least satisfy myself at that point that I had no -- I had spared no effort. I had no -- there was no drop of energy left in me, and I just, you know, it's like -- here, I gave it my best shot.

GROSS: Is it harder to try to say stirring things in a six-hour talk, when you feel like the people who you're really addressing aren't listening or aren't registering what you're trying to say?

CLARK: Yeah, you know, it really is. I gotta say, you know, in every other case, I have been able to look at the jury and they're nodding at me, and there's -- they're even talking back to me, sometimes.

You know, I have, often the call and response thing with my jury, where I'm saying, you know, "and don't you think this is this?" And they're going "yes" -- you know, I mean, I've always had that kind of experience because I like to talk to them.

And in this case, I mean, I confronted these stone faces, where no one moved a muscle. They were polite enough to be looking at me. I mean, I, you know, at least they did that. They weren't looking skyward or at the floor and fidgeting, but it was absolute agony, and inside I had to keep coaching myself, saying, keep going, keep trying, don't give up, keep going, maybe something's going to penetrate, maybe something will get through.

I mean, it's like I had this inner dialogue going in to keep me going, because otherwise I can't tell you how draining it is and how despairing it makes you feel to be looking at a jury that's basically saying: I don't want to look at you. I don't want to hear you. Not a word is coming through. I just can't wait to get back in that jury room and acquit.

GROSS: How do you think being a woman affected how you were treated in the courtroom and by the press?

CLARK: Oh, you know, I gotta say, Terry, I was one of those women in denial. I never believed that there was sexism, even when it was staring me in the face. I just, you know, I would just keep on trucking.

And even when judges would tell me, you know, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool sexist and I don't think you guys belong in the courtroom, I took it as a challenge to prove to them otherwise, and it always worked out that way.

In fact, the men who were the most up front about saying they were sexists, were really the men that most understood women and actually were the most easily persuaded to treat us at equals. It was the ones who were underground about it -- who thought that they were '90s guys who could deal with strong women.

They were the hardest ones, because they had the deep-seated notions that were not even consciously held that women don't belong there. In either case, though, I was always able to kind of overcome it and just do my job, and if I have to run twice as hard, then that's what you do. You run twice as hard. And I was able to ignore it.

In the Simpson case, it was so heavy and hot from all sides that I found myself no corner to turn to to avoid it any more. And especially in the courtroom, where Judge Ito treated me differently than anyone else.

I mean, I was able to see it -- that it was not just an anti-prosecution bias, because the men on the team got treated with better respect and treated better in all respects, in general, than I did.

So, I was able to see that it wasn't that I was the prosecutor. It was that I was a woman -- Mr. Bailey, Mr. Cochran and Marcia. You know what I mean? So, that kind of thing was going on all the time. And then, of course, I had the press, OK?

Talk about pink and blue coverage. Did they ever talk about the men's suits? The men's ties? The men's haircuts? Did they talk about their ex-wives? No. They didn't talk about any of that, but with me -- they went at me ad nauseum with it.

And it became very, very clear that there was certainly a distinction in the way they treated us -- the press treated us. So, I found myself with no way -- nowhere to turn to avoid it any more.

GROSS: My guest is Marcia Clark. She's written a new memoir about the Simpson criminal trial called Without A Doubt.

We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

BREAK

GROSS: Marcia Clark is my guest, and she's written a new book called Without A Doubt about the Simpson trial.

Did you think that as a woman you'd have a special empathy with Nicole Simpson and that would make it a stronger case?

CLARK: I don't know that I thought about that consciously, to tell you the truth, just because we were women. In fact, you would have thought the opposite, you know? She lived such a different life from me. You know, the wealthy and the privileged and the famous and all that stuff, and the beautiful.

And so I really thought, you know, I can't relate to her. So, actually maybe, you know, certainly not any particular point of reference that would have made me feel initially that there was a great connection there.

Ultimately, I did find a great connection there, having had the previous experience of my first marriage to Gaby (ph), and the experiences I went through with him, I found a great connection with her. But on the surface, in the beginning I didn't.

GROSS: What were those connections that you felt? You write in your book that he never hit you, but he used to shove you a lot.

CLARK: It was a mutual shoving match. I don't consider the relationship physically abusive, necessarily. But we would get into these huge fights, where I wanted to leave and he didn't want to let me go, and so I'd be running for the door, and he'd be dragging me back. It was one of those kind of things.

But it was certainly emotionally abusive. There was no doubt about that, and he was extremely controlling -- extremely controlling in the same kind of way that Simpson was, and the kind of controlling that's where my own self-esteem was taking a beating on a daily basis because he was making every effort to convince me that I couldn't live without him; that I couldn't do anything for myself; that I needed someone to tell me what to do; how to look; how to act; how to talk.

And you know, when you're very young, and I was only 18, it's not so hard to convince a young girl who's kind of just learning how to stand up on her own two feet, that she can't stand up on her own two feet. And Nicole had a very similar situation with Simpson. She was only 17 when she started dating this man who was twice her age, and Gaby was, in fact, about 10 years older than I was.

So you have a very worldly, strong, possessive, controlling guy telling you how to be -- and at a time in your life when you're as yet unformed, and easily influenced that way. And it does cut your self-confidence legs out from under you. So, I came to understand her in that respect very well.

GROSS: The impression I get from your book Without a Doubt is that one of the reasons why you became a lawyer and threw yourself into law so much was that it gave you a sense of who you were outside of this relationship. It gave you a sense of purpose, of self-esteem, and, of course, you were really passionate about the law.

CLARK: Yeah, that's absolutely true. It was funny. Initially, I wasn't all that passionate about the law. I just didn't know. I knew one thing: my undergraduate degree wasn't good for anything, so I had to figure out something else to do. And in those two years that I knocked around after graduating from UCLA, I tried on a number of different ideas, until finally I decided to go to law school.

And it was in the course of, I think, my criminal law classes that I discovered, you know, I could really get to love this. When I went into defense work, I got a better sense of really loving it, and I started to have a feeling of -- these glimmerings of self-esteem, and a feeling that I could do something with my life and take care of myself. But they were only glimmerings at that time.

The notions grew as I proceeded through law school, and then went into being an associate in a criminal defense firm, and started to have a sense of self for the first time in my life -- a sense of independent identity. And it was a real first. And through that process of growth, I found that I was able to get myself out of a very, very depleting and a situation that was very bad for me, and able to move out.

GROSS: You started off as a defense attorney, and then became a prosecutor. Why did you feel you had to leave defense?

CLARK: It was funny. When I was initially defending the druggies, the dopers, I found it easy. I can talk about search and seizure. I can wrap myself up in the flag, and you know, talk about -- everybody has -- we have to preserve these rights against unlawful search and seizure for all, or else none of us are safe. And that felt great.

But when I started getting cases where people were getting hurt, in a very immediate sense, as opposed to the more removed sense of, you know, when you have dope cases, yeah, somebody does ultimately get hurt, but it's not right here and now, so you can kind of cut that consequence off from what you're doing.

When you're representing somebody who tried to kill somebody else, then you have to confront the fact that you're actually trying to get somebody out of jail who almost killed someone. And at that point, I really couldn't stand it any more.

I just couldn't be in that position of defending somebody whom I knew to be guilty and who had done immediate, serious, grave bodily injury to another person.

GROSS: You were raped as a teenager. Did you ever consider pressing charges and taking it into the legal system?

CLARK: You know, I never did. I was so afraid of him, so ashamed and embarrassed I felt -- I felt like I was to blame. I went through all the victim stuff, you know. This is a -- I found later, I didn't know it at the time -- but very, very typically, the victim of abuse or molestation blames themself.

They say, you know, if only I hadn't done this. If only I hadn't done that, then he wouldn't have done it to me. And so, I'm to blame, so why should I go and complain or report him to the police?

And I was definitely in the mindset of saying it was all my fault. I'm foolish. I'm stupid. I'm this and I'm that. And if I hadn't been so foolish as to believe him when he said he just wanted to play music for me, I would have, you know, not been in that position, so it's my fault.

And that, on top of being scared and frightened and ashamed and not wanting anyone to know, prevented me from even considering the idea of reporting, which to this day I feel so guilty for, you know, leaving him out there to prey, potentially, on another woman, which is the reason I wrote it -- about it in the book.

You know, this is not something I really wanted anybody to know, to tell you the truth, but I thought, you know, if I'm every going to expiate my guilt for having not come forward, it's going to be by using this as an example to tell the women who have been raped, who have been molested: you are not the criminal. He is.

It's a crime. Report it. Don't worry about whether a jury convicts. The important thing is that you come forward, you report it to the police, then you will have done all that you can. You do all that you can.

The jury's going to do what they're going to do. Don't worry about that. You know that you told the truth. That is doing the right thing. You give it your best shot, and the rest is in the hands of God.

You know, there's only so much that you can ever do. It's kind of like trying the case, you know. You give it your best shot. You give it 110 percent, thinking through everything that you're going to do. Do it the best you can, and then they're going to do with it what they will, but at least you can go to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing. Don't ever blame yourself.

And I certainly did take the opportunity, by the way, to tell all rape and molest victims that I met as a prosecutor to be proud of themselves for reporting.

GROSS: You're not practicing law right now. Do you intend to go back?

CLARK: Oh, this is the most painful question. You know, I can't defend. I started out being a defense attorney, and I can't go back. I left defense work because I couldn't do it any more and I really loved being a prosecutor.

So, if I ever went back to the practice of law, I really think it would be as a prosecutor. And I can't bear to say never, so I mean, I'm holding that out in front of me, thinking maybe some day I can.

But it's going to have to be a day when no one remembers me, otherwise I won't be useful. Either one side or the other isn't going to want me out there because the jury would be biased either in my favor or against me.

GROSS: So, is that it? You're not going to go back to prosecution because of perceived bias or perceived celebrity, rather than because of your desire to be in or out of the courtroom?

CLARK: Right. I mean, if it was up to me, I'd be back in the courtroom, you know, very, very soon, because I really do love it. You know, it's something that I can believe in. It's a cause bigger than myself -- the pursuit of truth and justice, I mean, was something I really believed in.

It wasn't an abstract to me at all. And if I don't go back, and I can't say that I won't, but if I don't go back, I can tell you right now that that's why. It's not because I don't want to.

GROSS: Johnny Cochran's still practicing law. Is it any different for him than for you, in terms of perceptions of potential jurors?

CLARK: He's not practicing the same kind of law, Terry. He basically is practicing, with the exception of the Geronimo Pratt (ph) case, he's practicing civil law, and that's a whole different ball park. It's a whole different thing, and I don't think he's doing a whole lot of practicing, either. He's got his name on the letterhead, but as far as that goes, I think he's mainly doing his TV show right now.

GROSS: So, what do you hope to do? I know you've been working on the book, but the book is done now. What do you hope to do if you're not going to be back in the courtroom?

CLARK: I don't know. I mean, I've been -- there are certain offers that have been made to me in TV and in radio that I'm looking over. And if something good is presented to me, I probably will do something like that for the time being, because what else can you do with this kind of position I'm in.

But it would have to be, I mean, I want it to be something where I can advance a cause that is important -- the cause of women, the cause of children, you know, something along those lines I would really like to be able to do.

GROSS: Has anyone suggested that you co-anchor a show with Johnny Cochran?

LAUGHTER

CLARK: Oh, no they haven't. You know, I mean -- that's kind of funny.

GROSS: Marcia Clark, her new memoir is called Without a Doubt.

Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest: Marcia Clark
High: Lead prosecutor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial, Marcia Clark. She has since stepped down as Prosecutor in the Office of the Los Angeles District Attorney. She has a new memoir about the trial and her experiences: "Without a Doubt."
Spec: Murder; Deaths; Trials; Sports; Football; People; OJ Simpson
Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright (c) 1997 National Public Radio, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. under license from National Public Radio, Inc. Formatting copyright (c) 1997 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. For further information please contact NPR's Business Affairs at (202) 414-2954
End-Story: Marcia Clark
Show: FRESH AIR
Date: MAY 13, 1997
Time: 12:00
Tran: 051302np.217
Type: FEATURE
Head: Middle of Nowhere
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:50

TERRY GROSS, HOST: Hanson is a new pop trio consisting of three brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma: Ike, Taylor, and Zack (ph) who are respectively 16, 13, and 11. It's been quite a while since kids this young hit it big, but Hanson has a major success with the single "Mmm Bop" (ph).

Rock critic Ken Tucker review their new album "Middle of Nowhere."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, CD "MIDDLE OF NOWHERE" BY HANSON)

SINGER: Something been going on
And I don't what it is
Oh
You don't mind the taking girl
But you don't know how to give
Oh, you drive me crazy
But I don't know baby
(Unintelligible)

KEN TUCKER, FRESH AIR COMMENTATOR: Ah, youth. Once upon a time, rock and roll was played by young people, not leathery-skinned 50-year-olds or jaded 20-year-olds trying to sound like leathery-skinned 50-year-olds.

The industry has spent the past decade trying to reassure aging baby boomers that rock is grown-up music, and has done the job so well that hearing these youngsters named Hanson almost comes as a shock. The songs on their album Middle of Nowhere have an energy and spark missing from a lot of the most popular music these days.

This is heard most clearly on the group's single "Mmm Bop." The first time I heard it on the radio, I cranked up the volume and thought: This is a perfect pop song -- instantly catchy for the way its perky, bubbly melody contrasts with the aching moan of 13-year-old Taylor. Well, crank up your radio and hear for yourself.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, SONG "MMM BOP")

TAYLOR SINGING: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah
Yes, (Unintelligible)
When you want to relax
You go through all the pain and strife
(Unintelligible)
And you're gone so fast
(Unintelligible)
When you get old, (Unintelligible)
Can you tell me who will still care?
Can you tell me who will still care?
Oh, mmm bop (Unintelligible) rock
Oh, mmm bop (Unintelligible)
Yeah, yeah.

TUCKER: On "Mmm Bop," Hanson sounds like a white version of the early Jackson Five. It was produced by the Dust Brothers (ph) -- the guys who've worked wonders in collaboration with Beck. But where Beck thrives on murkiness and ambivalence, Hanson's teen pop music requires sonic clarity -- the musical equivalent of innocence. And that's what the Dust Brothers provide.

Now mind you, I'm not saying that I think Hanson is a particularly innocent rock act. These kids are erstwhile pros who share composition credits on this album with the '60s girl group legends Barry Mann (ph) and Cynthia Weil (ph), and the hack song doctor Desmond Child.

But of course, it's not as if the Jackson Five wasn't making carefully calculated music either. The trick is to use calculated craft to convey spontaneity. It's the central paradox of popular art, and Hanson pulls it off on songs like Mmm Bop and this one, "Thinking of You."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, SONG "THINKING OF YOU")

TAYLOR SINGING:
(Unintelligible) you'll see through, but you can't get to inside
Oh, oh.
You sit through the night
(Unintelligible)

What we could be, and what we could do
Fly the wings of an eagle
Ride on with the wind
No matter how high
I'm thinking of you
(Unintelligible)

Fly the wings of an eagle
Riding on with the wind
And no matter how high,
I'm thinking of you

(Unintelligible)

Yeah.

TUCKER: The Hanson brothers are three blond cuties. In the video for Mmm Bop, they horse around like the "Hard Day's Night" Beatles on roller blades. About a month ago, the New Yorker ran a long profile of another new youth band called "Radish," led by a spunky 14-year-old. The New Yorker made great claims for this kid, Ben Queller (ph), comparing him to Springsteen and Kurt Cobain.

Trouble is, listen to Radish and what you mainly hear is a child playing at grunge. Listen to Hanson, and you hear kids challenging the Gods of pop. As they say at the race track, the New Yorker backed the wrong horse.

GROSS: Ken Tucker is critic at large for Entertainment Weekly.

Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest:
High: Ken Tucker reviews the newest CD "Middle of Nowhere" by the group Hanson.
Spec: Music Industry; Hanson
Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright (c) 1997 National Public Radio, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. under license from National Public Radio, Inc. Formatting copyright (c) 1997 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. For further information please contact NPR's Business Affairs at (202) 414-2954
End-Story: Middle of Nowhere
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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