Celebrity trials come and go, but one thing remains the same: the circus. From spectators to overzealous reporters, high-profile trials draw a colorful cast of characters from far and wide. Scroll below for a look at some of the biggest trials in the last century.
Once considered a football god, OJ Simpson was accused of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her lover, Ron Goldman. The star-studded cast included famed attorneys Gloria Allred, who is representing several of Bill Cosby’s accusers in an ongoing sexual assault trial, and Robert Kardashian, whose daughters grew up to be, well, The Kardashians. The criminal trial held in Los Angeles took months to try but just four hours to decide. After an infamous chase down the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, the country remained glued to the television waiting to find out Simpson’s fate. He was found not guilty.
The King of Pop reigned supreme until his death in 2009, but one ugly story refused to go away: allegations of child molestation. Jackson was accused of luring a teeanger with alcohol and inappropriately touching him. The parents of other young boys also came forward, but he was cleared after 14 days of deliberations.
Oprah stirred quite the controversy when she had beef with the meat industry in a 1996 show about mad cow disease. The talk show host said she would think twice about eating a hamburger after an outbreak of the virus spread throughout England. Cattle producers in Texas claimed her show would hurt their sales and sued Oprah for more than $10 million. NBC10 Anchor Jim Rosenfield covered the trial while working in Chicago: “She decided she needed to be seen at the trial, so she taped her show in Amarillo, Texas, every night after a whole day in the courtroom,” he recalled. “She championed it as a right to free speech.” The jury ruled in her favor.
The wild-haired rock entrepreneur — who produced such acts as the Beatles, the Ronettes, Cher, the Ramones and Ike and Tina Turner — went on trial March 19, 2007, in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. Spector hired and fired at least three sets of attorneys, and a hung jury resulted in a mistrial six months later. He was convicted at a retrial April 13, 2009, and he remains in California State Prison in Folsom.
Today, Calvin Broadus Jr. might be regarded as a music pioneer and occasionally goofy pot entrepreneur, but back in the day, he was Snoop Doggy Dogg — convicted drug felon, newly minted multi-platinum gangsta rap sensation and a thumb in the eye to authority figures everywhere. His meteoric debut album, "Doggystyle," was still in production in August 1993 when he was arrested and charged with the murder of Phillip Woldermariam because he was allegedly driving the getaway car for the gunman, McKinley Lee — Snoop's bodyguard. (Lee was acquitted on the ground of self-defense in a trial covered wall to wall by MTV.)
Aaron Hernandez had it all as a Pro Bowl tight end with a $40 million contract for the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots. But in August 2013, a grand jury indicted him in the shooting death two months earlier of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player who was dating his fiancée's sister. Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He died by suicide in May.