“There are two sides to every story.” It is a timeless adage all-too-often forgotten in the scope of the public eye. And perhaps few cases exemplify the axiom more than that of Mark Fuhrman.
Fuhrman, the retired Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective, gained notoriety for his role in the 1995 murder trial of legendary NFL running back O.J. Simpson, who was facing double homicide charges in the slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Fuhrman would see his professional reputation collapse in ruin during the trial amidst allegations of racism and planting of evidence by Simpson’s “Dream Team“ defense attorneys, eventually resulting in a perjury conviction for his denial of using racial slurs within ten years of his testimony (Fuhrman’s record was later expunged).
Fuhrman offers his side of the O.J. Simpson saga in Murder in Brentwood, a chart-topping New York Times Best-Selling memoir of the trial originally released in 1997 by Regnery Publishing. In the book, Fuhrman presents his version of events and documents the errors and missteps he feels were made during the investigation of the Goldman-Brown murder scene and subsequent prosecution of Simpson, who would be acquitted of the crimes following a highly publicized eight-and-a-half month trial.
The book includes an apology from the former investigator for his remarks on the now-infamous “Fuhrman Tapes,” which on the surface appeared to paint Fuhrman as a vile bigot – audio that the defense claimed was proof of Fuhrman’s racial motivation to plant a bloody glove (the mate of a second glove found at the murder scene) at Simpson’s estate in order to frame the black athlete. Fuhrman expresses regret for his comments, but says they were “in character” diatribes as part of a fictional screenplay.
Fuhrman calls the “Dream Team’s” tactics into question throughout the book and addresses the accusation that he attempted to frame Simpson for murder. Fuhrman explains why he did not – and could not – have planted evidence at the football hero’s home, saying the opportunity never presented itself, and offers strong counterarguments to the defense’s continued contention of his racism.
After reading Murder in Brentwood, it is easy to understand Fuhrman’s perception that he was both scapegoated by the prosecuting attorneys – tasked with proving the guilt of a high-profile defendant amidst incredibly challenging circumstances – and sacrificed by Simpson’s legal defense team in their attempt to clear a client with a mountain of forensic and circumstantial evidence against him.
Supplementing Fuhrman’s account of the O.J. Simpson case are the detective’s personal notes from the night of the Goldman-Brown murders, his own hand-drawn maps of the crime scene, a transcript of Simpson‘s interrogation the day following the killings, Fuhrman’s hypothesis of how the murders occurred and a foreword penned by famed “Manson Family” prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi.
For those convinced of O.J. Simpson’s guilt, Murder in Brentwood may well serve as the story of a man who could be deemed the “Scapegoat of the Century.”
(Special thanks to Caitlyn Reuss of Regnery Publishing)