When American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, premiered on FX Feb. 2, the first episode portrayed prosecutor Marcia Clark, played by Sarah Paulson, pouring over the alleged history of domestic abuse between O.J. Simpson and his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. O.J. was charged with first degree murder for the deaths of Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994. The show hewed closely to claims made by the prosecution in Simpson's trial 21 years ago that O.J. repeatedly and violently abused Nicole and showed photos of Nicole Brown Simpson's alleged abuse by O.J. Romper reached out to O.J. Simpson's current attorneys, Patricia Palm, Ozzie Fumo, and Tom Pitaro for comment on the allegations that O.J. abused Nicole but did not immediately hear back.
In a Jan. 11, 1995 hearing in advance of O.J. Simpson's trial, prosecutors presented 85 pages of accounts collected from Brown's friends and relatives detailing up to 50 alleged incidents of Simpson abusing Brown, The New York Times reported. The goal was to convince Judge Lance Ito to allow evidence of Simpson's alleged history of domestic violence a the trial.
The defense argued, "Any attempt to characterize Nicole Brown Simpson as a 'battered wife' based upon isolated and widely separated incidents ignores the substantial evidence of a loving relationship which spanned 17 years."
The documents presented by the prosecution also included excerpts from Brown's diaries, which prosecutors had obtained when they got a warrant in December to open her safety deposit box. In one of the diary entries, Brown described Simpson calling her a "fat ass" while she was pregnant, insisting she get an abortion, smashing the windshield of her car with a baseball bat, and in one incident, beating her during sex, a Jan. 12, 1995 wire story reported.
The judge allowed prosecutors to present the evidence at trial, which they did in late January and early February. According to The Chicago Tribune, they included Polaroid photos of Brown's bruised face that she had kept in the safety deposit box. They were allegedly taken in 1989 after Simpson beat her so badly on New Year's Day that she was hospitalized. Simpson pleaded no contest to spousal abuse for the incident but never served jail time.
These are the photos the Faye Resnick character, played by Connie Britton, refers to in American Crime Story when she asks Kris Jenner, played by Selma Blair, at Brown's funeral, "Did you ever see the pictures of her face after he laid into her? You know she hid them away just in case something happened."
"It appears to us what Nicole Brown was doing was leaving a trail for us of what happened in 1989," prosecutors told the jury. They also played a tape of two 911 calls from 1993, after Simpson and Brown were divorced, in which Brown told the dispatcher, "My ex-husband has just broken into my house" and said, "He's O.J. Simpson. I think you know his record," The Chicago Tribune reported.
At the Jan. 11 hearing, Simpson's defense lawyers argued that Simpson and Goldman's murder didn't have the markers of domestic abuse, since there were multiple victims and the murder was committed in silence with a knife. According to The New York Times, Johnnie Cochran, the attorney leading Simpson's defense team at the time, said the reason the prosecution wanted the alleged abuse evidence included "is that they have no viable theory of who perpetrated these crimes."