Speaking at a press conference Sunday, the panelists said the prosecution may not have won convictions for Simpson and his co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart had those recordings not been made.
“It would have been a very weak case,” said Dora Pettit. Another juror David Wieberg added, “Yes, a weak case,” and other jurors nodded in agreement.
The seven jurors agreed to speak out two nights after the verdict was announced in a move to diffuse the onslaught of interview requests. They answered questions for an hour in the same courtroom where Simpson and Stewart were convicted of robbing two memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a hotel room.
The jury listened repeatedly to recordings made by collectibles dealer Thomas Riccio — the host of the hotel confrontation, who was granted immunity — and felt they heard things that had not been fully transcribed by police, juror Michelle Lyons said.
But jurors could not trust the credibility of witnesses who were given plea deals, Lyons said. “We felt we could not rely on that witness testimony,” she said.
The jurors all denied they wanted to punish Simpson for past wrongs. Pettit said she prayed for him before and after the case.
“I think he’s an ordinary man that made a bad decision,” she said. “I prayed for him and Stewart and the attorneys. I don’t have any ill feelings, and if they walked out tomorrow, so be it.”
Simpson, 61, was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. He was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case. He had claimed in the robbery case that he was trying to retrieve items that were stolen from him.
The jury also reacted to complaints by Simpson’s lawyers that there were no blacks on the panel; both defendants are black. One juror identified herself in a court questionnaire as Hispanic.
“We’ve been painted as an all-white jury who hates O.J., and that’s just not true,” Pettit said. “The laws that were laid out were the laws. And they were clearly broken.”
Simpson’s lawyer Yale Galanter told The Associated Press earlier Sunday that the his client is hoping for a new trial and a strong bid to reverse his conviction. He is being isolated from other prisoners in the Clark County Detention Center for his own safety, and is allowed to see only family members and a few friends, he said.
Simpson will be held at the detention center until his sentencing on Dec. 5 and then is expected to be moved to state prison. Galanter said he will pursue a request for Simpson to be released on bond during the appeals process.