DEJA VU: O.J. Freed On Bail, Surrenders Passport

BY AMY Z. QUINN The last time I remember turning on the TV and seeing a criminal courtroom full of people waiting on O.J. Simpson, I was 23 and hoping to catch a glimpse of my then-boyfriend, who was in his fourth month of covering the trial. It was verdict day, and my co-workers and I joined the rest of the country in crowding around the set to watch what we all expected to be a swift guilty verdict. Instead, I watched my former sweetie, seated in the courtroom behind Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister, crane his neck to take in the scene as the Browns and Goldmans sobbed and O.J. slapped Johnnie Cochran on the back.

Today, on a similarly brisk, sunlit morning — ironically, during the same week that ex-boyfriend was visiting Philly, Ioj_conehead_stdtweaked.jpg flipped over to CNN and had a Groundhog Day moment: The split screen showing a clip of Kato Kaelin running his mouth, the packed courtroom, Jeffrey Toobin picking apart the legalities of his latest criminal case. Even Marcia Clark couldn’t keep away — there she was, in the front row. It’s deja vu all over again.

This time, it’s not about whether or not he nearly decapitated the mother of two of his children, but whether he participated in an armed robbery fiasco that could, if he is convicted on all felony counts formally lodged against him this morning, land him in jail for decades. Today, as on Oct. 4, 1995, Simpson walked out of the courtroom headed for home, released on bail (after surrendering his passport) and accompanied by his latest blond girlfriend.

So what are we looking at here? Is this the final, desperate act of a legal system that won’t rest until Simspon does time in jail for something? Is it the fitting end to the increasingly ridiculous life Simpson has led since he beat the double-murder rap? Is it karma biting him on the ass for writing that book? The answer is a little of all of the above. But most of all, it’s Simpson’s smug fuck-your-$30 million-wrongful-death-settlement I’m-too-busy-looking-for-the-‘real killers’-on-the-18th-Hole arrogance smashing into the wall of criminality. It remains to be seen if all The Juice’s horses and all The Juice’s men can put O.J. Simpson back on a Florida golf course again.

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