The millions of viewers who tuned in to the O.J. Simpson hearings have been sitting in judgment over more than just the accused. Countless juries convened around dinner tables, coffee machines,watercoolers, and barstools are also debating the triumphs and follies of the numerous players, from television lawyers to T-shirt salesmen, who have a stake in the startling case. Here’s a preliminary ruling on how the participants have fared in the first round:
*Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell: When she announced her decision to allow damaging pieces of evidence, she summarized both the prosecution’s and the defense’s arguments better than either side did.
*Jim Moret: A lawyer by training, the CNN Los Angeles senior entertainment correspondent went from little-known cohost of a showbiz program to Master of O.J. Ceremonies in a single bound.
*Prosecutor Marcia Clark: She’s proven herself to be an intelligent, intense deputy DA. And she can stand up to defense attorney Robert Shapiro’s grandstanding.
*Mezzaluna: Now they could serve Spam at this Los Angeles restaurant and still draw a crowd.
*Simpson defense lawyer Robert Shapiro: Not only is he representing America’s most famous suspect, but he gets to pose for People in his pool.
*Jack Ford: His legal commentary on NBC and Court TV has managed to rise above the din of babbling lawyers.
*Stand-up comedians: They haven’t been this happy since Tonya’s thugs took a pipe to Nancy’s knee.
*Simpson defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz: A high-profile, high-paying case? Surprise! Dershowitz is on the scene.
*Cynthia McFadden: ABC’s McFadden, a former Court TV reporter, stands out among the legal affairs correspondents as someone who clearly knows what she’s talking about.
*Bob Tur: The helicopter newsman who filmed the Reginald Denny beating was also the first to spot O.J.’s fleeing Bronco, becoming a hero to airborne reporters everywhere.
*Everyone in possession of O.J. memorabilia: Who knew a cheap poster would someday fetch a king’s ransom?
*Natural Born Killers: Oliver Stone’s upcoming movie about serial killers who become TV-tabloid celebrities is suddenly looking pretty realistic. (Stone is reediting the film’s postscript montage — featuring scenes from the Menendez and Bobbitt trials — to include footage of the Bronco chase.)
*Ford Bronco: Talk about free publicity — all that was missing from the pictures of O.J.’s escape was the sticker price and miles-per-gallon in the corner of the screen.
*Insta-books: Seventy-two hours to research and write. Seventy-two seconds to check the facts.