Marcia Clark on returning to court after O.J.: ‘It was like I had cut off my arm’

FX’s hit series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, has brought attention to the key players in the historic trial, including prosecutor Marcia Clark. The 62-year-old, now a successful writer of crime novels, spoke in-depth with The Hollywood Reporter about some topics she didn’t address in her 1997 autobiography Without a Doubt. Marcia revealed that she was raped during a trip to Israel when she was 17, had wanted to be an actress before pursuing law, and briefly dabbled in Scientology. Marcia, whose latest crime novel, Blood Defense, comes out in May, also spoke about the trial and her relationship with co-prosecutor Chris Darden. Here are some highlights:

On the day after the verdict: “I didn’t go to work that day. I didn’t have to. The case was over. I got the kids off to school. I drove up the coast to meet my friend for lunch. I was numb. I wanted relief.”

On prosecuting cases after the O.J. trial: “It was like I had cut off my arm. That’s who I was, a prosecutor. I really loved it. But I couldn’t do it — I was afraid to do it, even, because I was afraid I’d go into court and juries would either hate me or be unfairly sympathetic.”

On resigning as a prosecutor in 1997: “I couldn’t even think of going back there. The misery was so profound. The only thing I wanted was, ‘Get me away from there’ — the ugliness I had been through. When my overtime and vacation time ran out, I had my office packed up. I never went back.”

Would Marcia have used the “race card” if she were defending O.J.?: “I’ve thought about it but not come to a decision. It’s too hard to answer. I don’t know. I could simply have [disqualified] all the evidence for being improperly collected, contaminated, messed up, mishandled. And that would have been enough.”

On recent claims that O.J. had CTE, which caused him to commit murder: “I have thought about it. [But] from what I understand, it causes explosive behavior, unpredictable behavior. I have never heard that it promotes this kind of planned behavior.”

On not being invited to the screening of the show: “I wouldn’t have gone. To watch that in front of other people? Oh my God! Who’s going to hold me down when I run for the balcony and throw myself off?”

On Scientology: “I never got past the very low levels. It’s actually really instructive at the beginning because it’s the greatest hits of the best of meditation and all the best of psychology. It melds it all together, and it’s very helpful. Once you get past that and you start talking about the mythology…[L. Ron Hubbard’s writing] it’s so amateur hour”

Her current spiritual situation: “I’m just not a religious person, not at all. I consider myself a spiritual person. I was always very drawn to Buddhism, Hinduism. I still meditate.”

She’s perfectly happy being single: “I just think I’m at a place in my life where I’m pretty occupied with what I’m doing, and I’m really into it, and that’s good for me.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

As for her relationship with fellow prosecutor Chris Darden, Marcia said that after the verdict, “We hung out for a few years after the trial. We’d see each other occasionally, do stuff. But then I moved up here, and it got harder and harder to get together.”

It seems no one will ever know the true nature of the relationship between Marcia and Chris. Marcia got giggly when discussing it on Ellen a few weeks ago and now it’s Chris Darden’s to blush and chuckle when asked about the subject. Chris sat down with Entertainment Tonight on Monday. When asked if he and Marcia were an item, he smiled before saying they never dated, adding, “I wouldn’t know how to date.” He said he was merely interested in Marcia’s “well-being.” And, as Marcia has admitted to watching the series at home, Chris has not, stating, “This is really someone else’s creation, and I am not part of that creation… They did not bother to consult me or ask me about it. I don’t think I have any responsibility in terms of watching.” I don’t know about you, but I do believe there was something between these two beyond a professional relationship, but I suppose it’s admirable that they don’t “kiss and tell.”

Here’s one last O.J. tidbit to chew on: as I mentioned at the top of this story, the show has reintroduced the public to many of the key players of the trial, but not everyone needs to be interviewed. TMZ spoke with Michael Knox, a juror who ended up getting kicked off of the jury after it was revealed he had a prior conviction. Knox told TMZ that the “are they or aren’t they?” speculation about the prosecutors was a distraction during the trial. He said that the jury “couldn’t see past the body language” between Marcia and Chris and went on to say that the female members of the jury were “extremely offended” by Marcia’s “demeanor and appearance.” Methinks someone is just looking for their 15 minutes of fame here, right? Tune in for the finale of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story on FX this coming Tuesday. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I think O.J. gets away with it.

Marcia Clark's "Guilt By Degree" Book Signing


Photo credit: Getty Images,, Fame Flynet

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15 Responses to “Marcia Clark on returning to court after O.J.: ‘It was like I had cut off my arm’”

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  1. K says:

    I don’t know if the jury was offerend but I had to sit on a trial once (lasted a week not 8 months) for insurance fraud and it was so boring that the jury did start to speculate about the lawyers and their lives. So I’d imagine after 8 months no tv and really boring DNA evidence they would start to create soap operas in their heads.

  2. Esmom says:

    No spoiler alert?! Lol.

    I’m glad Clark is in a good place, she seems to have handled her whole ordeal in the best, most productive way possible. And good for her for seeing through Scientology’s scam, it’s a testament to her strength, I think.

  3. oliphant says:

    wow- looking at that second picture down they cast the tv show really well- Sarah Paulson and Sterling K Brown especially.

    • Carmen says:

      The whole cast is magnificent except for Cuba Gooding. He just isn’t OJ. But then again, who could play OJ?

  4. KBeth says:

    I’ve always felt immense sympathy for Clark, the public scrutiny she was subjected to during the trial was disgusting.

  5. Carmen says:

    I’m sick and tried of Darden whining and making excuses for his own incompetence. To this day he insists Johnnie Cochran tampered with the gloves so they wouldn’t fit. After 20 years he hasn’t learned a thing.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Yes I can’t see how they didn’t think to get him to try them on before court or take the knowledge that the evidence collection and blood had altered them beyond belief. Even with those oversights, you have to admit now and own that it was a huge mistake and a massive contributor into why he was acquitted.

      • Carmen says:

        Darden must have slept through Trial Law 101 in law school: never, ever, ever do a demo in the courtroom that you haven’t tried previously to know exactly how it will turn out.

    • WTW says:

      I watched the latest episode last night. Clark screwed up with Fuhrman and Darden screwed up with the gloves. All this time I thought the jury was simply out to lunch, but Clark and Darden were incompetent in many ways. I have sympathy for them both, but if I were on that jury I would’ve voted not guilty as well. Not guilty isn’t the same thing as innocent. The defense simply did a convincing job of showing that OJ couldn’t be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I hate to say this because I think OJ did it, but there was indeed a reasonable doubt the way the defense presented the evidence and the way the prosecution bungled it.

      • maria says:

        My sentiments exactly!

      • Carmen says:

        That was exactly what I thought about the jury in the Casey Anthony trial. The jurors weren’t lazy, stupid or incompetent; the prosecution brought a lousy case.

  6. Naya says:

    *Side eye. She played on race herself when she started targeting black jurors for disqualification mid-trial in the hope that they would be replaced by white alternates. She knew she was losing and tried to rescue her case by inserting anti-black sentiment into the jury. The fact is the mishandled evidence should not have been enough to convict anybody, black or white. OJ was just lucky he was famous enough not to be held to the flimsy standard that the average black man would have faced.

    • WTW says:

      @Naya I still don’t understand why they didn’t ask the jury for a mistrial when they could’ve pressed for one. They could’ve learned from their mistakes and tried again. This could’ve been a slam dunk conviction, but the prosecution’s level of ineptitude was cringeworthy.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I hadn’t known or had forgotten so much about the trial, and watching the show has made me read up on it. It’s unfortunate that she never tried a case again, apparently before the OJ trial she was a very effective and successful prosecutor.
    I think she and Darden bonded in a way that happens when 2 people go through something traumatic or very difficult together that no one else can fully understand. Beyond that, who knows, it’s their business.

  8. Birdix says:

    I didn’t follow the case at the time so have found this series fascinating, particularly the way the context of that time in that city is so important. I wonder what the verdict would be today.