Lifestyle & Belief

OJ's attorney joins media frenzy for South Africa's 'trial of the century'



Lee Celano/WireImage (left) and Jemal Countess/Getty Images (right)

Robert Shapiro. Remember that name? He was one of nine attorneys who defended OJ Simpson against charges of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, and Ronald Lyle Goldman, her friend.

The 1995 murder trial captivated the American public for eight months and an estimated 150 million people tuned in to watch the televised verdict: "not guilty."

Fast forward 20 years. Simpson's now serving time for armed robbery and Shapiro's been hired as a legal analyst for a South African TV channel covering another high profile case — the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

The double amputee track star stands accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

The Pistorius case has been likened to the Simpson case in its details and ramifications. Both involve a celebrated male athlete, a beautiful female partner, allegations of domestic violence leading to murder and sloppy police work.

There’s every indication that the Pistorius case, set to begin March 3, will also reach OJ Simpson-levels of media frenzy.

Judge Dunstan Malambo, sitting in Pretoria High Court, has just ruled that most of the trial can be televised — paving the way for a pop-up channel to provide 24-hour coverage, analysis and commentary. George Mazarakis, executive editor of MultiChoice, states:

“The Oscar Pistorius Trial – A Carte Blanche Channel on DStv Channel 199, will feature interviews with a large variety of expert guests from around the world throughout the course of the daytime and evening programming.

These guests will offer insight and commentary on what happened in court. Experts will include senior legal minds, psychologists, forensic experts, social commentators, brand gurus, social media analysts, news and media heavyweights.”

The murder channel will be hosted from a studio in Johannesburg, crossing live to journalists at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, reports HumanIPO.

In addition to OJ Simpson’s lawyer, presenters will include journalists Derek Watts, John Webb, Bongani Bingwa and Devi Sankaree Govender, social media lawyer Emma Sadleir, radio talk show hosts Leigh Bennie and David O’Sullivan, and ex-BBC presenter Subniv Babuta.