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Celebrity Lawyer Johnnie Cochran Dies at 67


Celebrity lawyer Johnnie Cochran has died in Los Angeles at the age of 67. The flamboyant attorney, became a star, himself, after the celebrated trial of sports star O. J. Simpson.

The televised murder trial of the football hall-of-famer made stars of nearly everyone connected with the case, but no one more than Johnnie Cochran. With his well honed rhetoric and theatrical manner, Mr. Cochran convinced a jury in 1995 that blood-stained gloves and other evidence did not implicate the sports star in the murder of his ex-wife and her acquaintance.

"It makes no sense. It doesn't fit. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," he said.

The jury did acquit Mr. Simpson, but a civil jury later him liable for the two deaths and awarded the families of the victims financial damages.

Johnnie Cochran's other celebrity clients have included football great Jim Brown, the actor Todd Bridges, and rap stars Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.

Mr. Cochran was also known for embracing unknown clients, many of whom, like him, were African American. He died at his home in Los Angeles of a brain tumor.

In another celebrated case, Mr. Cochran represented Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, who successfully sued New York police for torture. He also defended Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a leader of the radical Black Panther movement who spent more than two decades in prison for murder. Mr. Cochran helped win his release in 1997.

In the O. J. Simpson trial, critics accused Johnnie Cochran of playing the "race card" to a largely black jury. The defense lawyer argued in court that Los Angeles police framed the sports star because he is a black celebrity.

Johnnie Cochran appeared on countless television shows, and hosted his own program on the Court TV cable channel.

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