O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing is set for Thursday. The former NFL player was sentenced in 2008 to nine to 33 years in prison for charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Of course, that was not Simpson’s most notable court appearance. In 1995, Simpson was acquitted in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman.
The O.J. Simpson case was one of the defining cultural events of the 1990s. From the televised slow-speed chase of Simpson in a white Ford Bronco to the trial that kept the country rapt for months, it permeated every sphere of American culture, even politics.
In the Instagram video above, you can see then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich maligning the broadcast of the Simpson trial in June 1995. A CNN article from the day of the Simpson verdict also featured quotes from notable politicians. It seems everyone was watching the trial, all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“The jury heard the evidence and rendered its verdict,” then-President Bill Clinton said in a statement. “Our system of justice requires respect for their decision. At this moment, our thoughts and prayers should be with the families of the victims of this terrible crime.”
Then-Senate majority leader and future presidential nominee Bob Dole said, “This tragic episode has been tortuous for the families of the victims. My thoughts and prayers — and those of all Americans — will remain with the families of the victims for many years to come.”
Rep. Bob Dornan, who at the time represented a district in Southern California, was the most charged politician quoted in the article. He said, “O.J. is guilty 15 times … John Cochran is guilty of murder.”
For more on the defining moments of the 1990s, tune into CNN’s original series, “The Nineties,” on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.