Celebrity attorney Johnnie Cochran passes away

MUMBAI: Famous celebrity attorney Johnnie Cochran who shot to fame by defending O.J. Simpson has passed away of brain cancer. He was 67 years old.


During his career Cochran sued police departments for abusing blacks and other minorities before he took on Simpson as a client in 1994. The former football star turned actor was accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman in a fit of jealous rage. The police chasing Simpson was watched by millions on American television and can be regarded as the birthplace of reality television.

Cochran became pop culture reference on American television and film. For instance an actor with a wide grin played him as the character Jackie Chiles on the sitcom Seinfeld. Whatever the case, Jackie's response was: "I am outraged!"



Cochran had his own show on Court TV. In an episode of South Park a star-studded fund-raiser had to be held so the character Chef could raise $2 million to defend himself against Johnnie Cochran in a lawsuit brought by a record company. The Cochran character employs a nonsensical Chewbacca defense.

An AP report adds that Cochran was regularly impersonated by comedian Tim Meadows on NBC's Saturday Night Live. And comedian Chris Rock uttered a Cochran line in the movie Lethal Weapon 4 when his character was arresting a suspect. "You have the right to an attorney. If you get Johnnie Cochran, I'll kill you."

Cochran's coined a signature phrase while defending Simpson- "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." The phrase was spoken at a dramatic point in the trial after Simpson had trouble putting on a pair of bloodstained gloves the murderer was said to have discarded at the crime scene.

Another high profile client of his was pop icon Michael Jackson. Jackson settled a lawsuit filed by a teenage boy who claimed the singer molested him in 1993. The settlement figure has never been officially disclosed, but some reports put it at $25 million.

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