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Friday, April 01, 2016

Simpson was acquitted of the double slaying but found liable for the two deaths in a civil trial

Knife Found on O.J. Simpson's Estate Ruled Out as Murder Weapon by Andrew Blankstein A knife found more than a dozen years ago on O.J. Simpson's estate has been ruled out as the murder weapon in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News. A construction worker found the small bladed knife on the land where the football star once lived and gave it to retired LAPD traffic officer George Maycott, who was working off-duty nearby, Maycott's attorney has said.  Knife found on O.J. Simpson property likely not connected to murder 0:22 There was no apparent blood on the knife, which is similar to those used by contractors, gardeners, landscapers and other laborers, sources told NBC News. Celebrity news site TMZ raised the possibility it could be connected to the murders of Simpson and Goldman, but a battery of forensic tests found no link. Over the years, many knives have been turned in to the LAPD as the possible murder weapon only to be ruled out after further investigation. Simpson was acquitted of the double slaying but found liable for the two deaths in a civil trial. ================== Fri Apr 1, 2016 | 6:14 PM EDT Knife found at O.J. Simpson's former home ruled out as 1994 murder weapon O.J. Simpson watches his former defense attorney Yale Galanter testify during an evidentiary hearing in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada in this file photo taken on May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ethan Miller/Pool Reuters/Ethan Miller/Pool Knife found at O.J. Simpson's former home ruled. By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Testing has ruled out a knife purportedly found at the former home of O.J. Simpson as having been used in the 1994 murders he was acquitted of committing in the "Trial of the Century," a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said on Friday. Forensic investigators conducted DNA and other tests on the blade after it was turned over to Los Angeles police within the last few months by a retired LAPD motorcycle officer. The retired officer told investigators he had been given the knife by a construction worker, who in turn claimed to have found it on Simpson's property in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles when the house was being torn down in 1998. "We don't know if it's a hoax, but there's no nexus to the murders, based on the testing we've done," LAPD Captain Andrew Neiman said in an interview. Police have declined to elaborate on the timeline of when the knife was recovered and turned over to investigators, but Neiman said earlier this month it was possible "the whole story is bogus from the get-go." Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death on June 12, 1994, at her condominium a few miles away. The murder weapon has never been recovered. The sensational trial of Simpson, a former football star, was carried live on major television networks in the United States and transfixed much of the country. Authorities have not described the knife, but the celebrity website TMZ reported it was a kind of folding knife typically used in hunting and fishing. A medical examiner testified for the prosecution during the trial that Brown Simpson and Goldman were likely slain with a single-bladed, 6-inch knife. Simpson was found liable for the deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman by a civil court jury in 1997 and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims' families, a judgment that has remained largely unfulfilled. He was convicted in Las Vegas in 2008 of kidnapping and robbery in a bungled attempt to recover memorabilia from his storied football career. He is serving a prison term of up to 33 years. Reports about the knife surfaced just as a popular new FX cable television drama series, "The People v. O.J. Simpson," chronicling the trial, is airing. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman) ===================== After O.J., ‘Confirmation’ Revisits Another ’90s Flashpoint: Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas By JAMES PONIEWOZIKAPRIL 14, 2016 Continue reading the main story Share This Page Share Tweet Pin Email More Save Photo Kerry Washington as Anita Hill in HBO’s “Confirmation.” Credit Frank Masi/HBO The 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings of Clarence Thomas, and the public accusation by the law professor Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her years before, popularized the phrase “He said, she said.” (With some help from the Kevin Bacon-Elizabeth Perkins movie of the same year.) But for every he and she in such a case, there’s a “they”: the people who listen, who provide the soapbox, who control the microphone. “Confirmation,” a conventional but smart HBO docudrama airing Saturday, features a persuasive Kerry Washington as Ms. Hill and a fiery Wendell Pierce as Mr. Thomas. But it is also about the forces massed behind each of them and sitting in uneasy judgment. The film introduces Ms. Hill as a reluctant accuser, approached by Ricki Seidman (Grace Gummer), an aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Treat Williams), on behalf of those who hope to scuttle the nomination in the Senate. Ms. Hill worked under Mr. Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which handles just such harassment complaints, and she knows what she’s in for. As she puts it, “The victim tends to become the villain,” even when the balance of the judicial branch isn’t at stake. (The conservative Mr. Thomas was named to replace Thurgood Marshall, also an African-American but a liberal.) “Confirmation” sticks studiously to the record (it even Forrest Gumps Mr. Pierce into archival news footage with George H. W. Bush) and doesn’t directly adjudicate Ms. Hill’s charges. But it clearly sits on her side, attentive to the media spectacle’s toll on her. Advertisement Continue reading the main story She’s given support, especially the counsel of the Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree (Jeffrey Wright). Still, she knows she is being inserted amid racial, sexual and political tripwires like the tweezers into an Operation game, and you tense with her, awaiting the buzzer. Ms. Washington is best known for playing Olivia Pope in the emotionally operatic “Scandal,” which makes her guarded, unpracticed Ms. Hill all the more impressive. The director, Rick Famuyiwa (“Dope”), accents her discomfort by shooting her from below, lights burning hot overhead, as the Judiciary Committee chairman, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Greg Kinnear), prods her to repeat the name of a porn actor — Long Dong Silver — she said Mr. Thomas discussed in her presence. Mr. Pierce (“The Wire”) plays the nominee as an enigma, but his rage before the cameras (he famously called the hearings a “high-tech lynching”) is thunderous. It rattles the white male legislators, many of whom live in a glass house — or rather a glass Senate — when it comes to conduct with women. There’s counterpressure, too; a band of congresswomen crash the Senate dining room to lobby and shame their complacent male colleagues. Mr. Kinnear gives an “S.N.L.”-grade impression — “I feel for ya, I do” — as the senator reassures Ms. Hill but frets about his image: “I’m not going to be the bad guy in this thing.” Mr. Biden is portrayed less as an antagonist than a squish, pulling punches along with his colleagues for fear of electoral fallout while Ms. Hill is grilled and vilified. (The committee, for instance, decides not to call another accuser, Angela Wright, played by Jennifer Hudson.) The script, by Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”), frames the battle within a longer partisan war, opening with news clips of the derailing of the Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork in 1987. And the power politics — Mr. Thomas’s backers, in the telling, simply fought harder — anticipate the media and legal total war of the Clinton impeachment and the contested 2000 presidential election. Especially after FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” it’s hard not to see the nomination fight as a thematic prequel to that 1994-95 case, pitting racial against gender claims, this time complicated by both accuser and accused being black. It’s also a period piece about gender-political mores. (It’s striking to see Ms. Hill’s questioners focused on whether Mr. Thomas touched her, as if talking porn with a female subordinate were itself a nothingburger.) As with a Supreme Court nominee, how you finally judge “Confirmation” depends on the litmus test you apply. If you judge it for its topical timing — beyond the identity politics, another potentially balance-shifting seat is now open on the court — it comes off well. If you judge it for its artistic timing — right after the more ambitious, colorful, multivalent “People v. O.J.” — not so much. Judged on its own, “Confirmation” is solidly in the middle range of meat-and-potatoes HBO historical movies. There’s nothing wrong with it, nor will it do much to surprise you. It tells a sober, linear story and doesn’t develop its characters beyond headline-news figures. But it’s engaging as recent history, and powerful at moments when it turns the cameras on the nation of men, and especially women, watching the proceedings — shifting focus, in the end, from he, she and they to we. A version of this review appears in print on April 15, 2016, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: He Said, She Said, We Gasped. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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