We know that the American judicial system is a little crazy. We know that. We know that Americans love big media trials. And they do not deprive themselves of the pleasure of a large number of crazy legal cases, sometimes involving the decline of powerful people, sometimes involving crazy people who do anything crazy. It’s a free country, after all.
1. The O.J. Simpson case
O.J. Simpson, a star of American football, is married to Nicole. Nicole is found stabbed with another guy, Ron Goldman, outside her home. The husband, O.J. Simpson, is an absent subscriber. He had to surrender to the police but refused and was pursued by authorities throughout Los Angeles, under the watchful eye of all American television stations. Busted and charged with the double murder, O.J. Simpson was tried in October 1995 and pleaded not guilty. The trial is followed by all the TV channels in the world, and the jury decides to make a verdict of not guilty. Two years later, in civil proceedings, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of the death of the two lovers and ordered to pay more than $30 million in damages.
In 2007, O.J. Simpson was caught after an armed robbery at a Las Vegas casino. Sentenced to 33 years in prison, he will be released after 9 years in advance in October 2017.
2. Touradji Capital Management Against Beach & Volero
After +10 years of litigation, about 60 depositions, 11 counterclaims and approximately 900 docket entries, a jury decided that a Manhattan hedge fund manager must pay two former portfolio managers $46 million for breaching verbal compensation agreements made in the days when hedge funds flew high. This lawsuit hit the headlines and is about to become one of Wall Street’ most famous legal battles.
The jury’s awards $21.4 million to former Touradji Capital Management portfolio manager Gentry Beach and $24.3 million to former Touradji portfolio manager Robert Vollero Jr.. Both compensation will jump to a nearly $91 million total payout due to the 9% yearly interest.
3. Robert Lee Brock attacked himself in criminal court to have his crime reclassified
Robert Lee Brock, a Virginia state prisoner, had killed a guy. Except that he couldn’t stand prison and wanted to escape it by being transferred to a medical institute. So he decided to attack himself by accusing himself of drinking too much the day he committed his crime. He claimed $50 million for himself.
Well, the American judicial system is weird, but not that weird either. Robert Lee Brock was rejected and unfortunately remained in prison.
4. A guy has to pay $50,000 to his ex for a false promise of marriage
Yeah, the American legal system is still weird. In 2001, Melissa Cooper attacked her ex-boyfriend, Christopher Kelley, who had dumped her like an old sock. Melissa Cooper had received a rather expensive ring from Kelley in 2004 and thought it was a mark of marriage proposal. Melissa Cooper therefore considered that she had been scammed, and the court agreed with her. Kelley had to pay him $50,000 for breach of contract.
5. A guy attacks Michael Jordan and Nike’s boss because he looks like Jordan
In 2006, Allen Heckard, a Portland resident, was fed up with hearing every 10 minutes that he looked like Michael Jordan. Okay, he looked pretty much like him, wore an earring like the basketball player, but he was 8 years his senior and was much smaller than Jordan. Whoever says enough says enough says enough, says enough, and Heckard attacks Nike and Michael Jordan, claiming $832 million. When asked to explain this amount, he found himself in great pain… And eventually withdrew his complaint.
6. The Rodney King case
A young African American beaten up by cops in 1991, Rodney King became a symbol of racial discrimination in the United States after the acquittal of the police officers responsible for his beating. The police’s aggressive intervention was filmed by an amateur camera and broadcast everywhere on television. Rodney King had indeed fled the police who had controlled him while driving under the influence of alcohol, but there is no reason to resort to such violence: King was beaten about 50 times with sticks and kicks, including to the head.
The police officers’ trial, broadcast on television, has been the subject of much ink. The verdict of not guilty immediately triggered riots throughout Los Angeles. The riots lasted 6 days and killed about 50 people.
In 1993, the police officers were retried by a federal court and two of them were sentenced to 30 months in prison.
7. The Phil Spector case
Former producer of the Beatles, more influential personality you die of the history of music, Phil Spector slips (to say the least) in February 2003 when he shoots the young actress Lana Clarkson. Arrested, Spector was the subject of an ultra-media trial. Not very smart to hide a murder, he told his driver that he killed someone the night of the murder. But Spector got away with it, thanks to the help of lawyer Robert Shapiro, who had also taken care of… O.J. Simpson. Rejected in 2008 for manslaughter, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Since then, Spector has been in jail.
8. The Ted Bundy case
A charismatic serial killer, charming and specialized in the murder of young girls that he would do by playing the handicapped, Ted Bundy was arrested in 1978 after having committed more than thirty murders. Close to the Republican Party, a young law student, Bundy fascinated and defended himself in part, accumulating good words and jokes, being charming towards the women on the jury and simply looking totally insane. 250 journalists from all over the world covered the trial that made the headlines around the world. Finally, Bundy confessed to 30 crimes and was sentenced to death. It will be executed in 1989.
9. The DSK case
The story is well known, but it is still absolutely crazy. IMF boss, pre-declared winner of the future French presidential election, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested on May 14, 2011 as he was about to fly, accused of rape by Nafissatou Diallo, a chambermaid from the Sofitel hotel where the former Minister of Economy was staying. Answer from the person concerned: “What is this about? “It’s a little funny. In addition to the more or less nauseating comments that will be heard on both sides of the Atlantic, we must also consider the madness of criminal proceedings, which will not result in a trial, with the charges being dropped in December 2012 after an amicable settlement. DSK will then be accused of rape by Tristane Banon, but the facts were time-barred, and then will be caught up in the turmoil of the Lille Carlton case.
10. Michael Jackson and alleged sexual abuse
Already worried in 1993 after little Jordan Chandler accused him of sexual abuse, Jackson got away with paying millions of dollars to get the proceedings withdrawn. In 2005, it was another child close to him, now an adult, Gavin Arvizo, who accused the singer of sexual abuse. The trial is held in camera but still makes a big noise. But Arvizo struggles to convince the jury and his mother’s personality, who seems to have quite a bit of money after the pop king’s money, doesn’t help him. In the end, the jury will drop the charges due to insufficient evidence.