The Morning After for the Dream Team _ Shapiro Rips Cochran, Bailey
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ No more sweet dreams for the Dream Team.
The ink on the jury forms was barely dry when O.J. Simpson’s attorneys went from attacking the prosecution to attacking each other, capping the biggest victory of their legal careers with a cat fight.
Robert Shapiro said he was so disgusted with his colleagues’ tactics that he would never work with Johnnie Cochran Jr. or F. Lee Bailey again; in fact, he won’t even speak to Bailey.
Bailey, in return, called Shapiro a ``sick little puppy″ who was saved from embarrassment by Cochran.
And Cochran told KCAL-TV in Los Angeles that apparently Shapiro’s ``ego has really gotten crushed in the course of this trial and I feel very sorry for him.″
Shapiro was absent Tuesday evening when several defense attorneys, including Cochran, Bailey, Robert Blasier and Gerald Uelmen, dined and posed for pictures at a West Hollywood restaurant.
The feud was reminiscent of the dispute that surfaced on the eve of opening statements in January, when Shapiro likened Bailey to a ``snake″ and Bailey said Simpson was being ill-served by Shapiro’s sniping. A short time after that exchange, Cochran replaced Shapiro as lead attorney.
At that time, there were reports that Bailey and his associates had leaked information through the media to denigrate Shapiro’s courtroom skills and enhance Bailey’s own standing.
But the attorneys made up in front of the cameras and there was little talk after that of any dissension among the team _ until now.
The new row erupted when Shapiro, in an ABC interview Tuesday, criticized Cochran’s emotional closing argument, in which he urged jurors to acquit to send a message against racist police.
``Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck,″ Shapiro told Barbara Walters.
Shapiro, who is Jewish, also said he was ``deeply offended″ by Cochran’s telling jurors that retired Detective Mark Fuhrman was a racist with power, similar to Adolf Hitler.
``To me the Holocaust stands alone as the most horrible human event in modern civilization,″ Shapiro said. ``And with the Holocaust came Adolf Hitler, and to compare this man in any way to a rogue cop, in my opinion was wrong.″
He said he passed on his concerns to Cochran.
``He said, `You are entitled to your opinion and you can express it,‴ Shapiro said.
``He believes that everything in America is related to race; I do not,″ he said. ``I believe there are certainly racial problems in this country, and I believe that peaceful solutions can help bring the races together.″
Shapiro said he was particularly upset with Cochran’s use of bodyguards from the Nation of Islam, which has been accused of anti-Semitism.
``I thought that sent an improper message,″ he said.
Cochran told CBS that Shapiro ``appears to be, apparently, very troubled.″
``On this, our happiest day of our whole careers, I feel bad for him. I feel sorry for him. He’s the one who has problems. We don’t.″
``I like Bob Shapiro a lot,″ Cochran added, ``but I don’t think anybody on the team is in any great hurry to work with him again.″
Of the Hitler comparison, Cochran told NBC: ``That’s an oblique reference that in no way trivialized the Holocaust, which I very much appreciate and understand.″
For Bailey, once his mentor, Shapiro also had harsh words.
``It was my desire to have him behind the scenes, to rely on his great wisdom and brainpower,″ Shapiro said, ``but I did not feel that he should be in the courtroom.″
Bailey, in fact, was entrusted with the key assignment of cross-examining Fuhrman.
Asked how he felt about Bailey now, Shapiro said, ``It’s a very, very sad point in my life. This is a man who I had a very close relationship with, and I will never have a relationship with him.″
``He’s kind of a sick little puppy,″ Bailey responded this morning on NBC’s ``Today.″ ``I think it’s Bob’s shattered ego.″
``I don’t mind Bob attacking me _ he did that in January,″ he said. ``But to attack Johnnie Cochran as he did is unforgivable because Johnnie Cochran bent over backwards to keep him from embarrassing himself and Johnnie Cochran is one of the better lawyers that America has ever served up.″
Carl Douglas, another Simpson attorney, said this morning the defense team worked together well. He praised Shapiro for assembling the group.
``I don’t really think that there was a lot of dissension,″ Douglas said on CNN. ``You had a lot of strong personalities who were working together for the common good.″
While there was tension on the team in January, he said, ``there really wasn’t something that would portend this sort of blast that we heard yesterday.″