oj simpson (glove)*Nearly 17-years after the not-guilty verdict was handed down in the O.J. Simpson murder case, one of the prosecutors is alleging  that the lead defense attorney, the late Johnnie Cochran, tampered withthe infamous glove so that it wouldn’t fit Simpson’s hand, according to Reuters.

Former Los Angeles deputy district attorney Christopher Darden accused Simpson defense lawyer, the late Johnnie Cochran, of “manipulating” one of the infamous gloves that the prosecution said linked Simpson to the grisly double murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

After Simpson struggled to fit the gloves on his hands — in one of the defining moments of the racially charged trial that captivated the nation – Cochran famously admonished the jury, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

On Thursday, during a panel discussion about the trial at Pace Law School in New York City, Darden, a member of the prosecution team, declared: “I think Johnnie tore the lining. There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.’s fingers couldn’t go all the way up into the glove.”

Darden said in a follow-up interview on Friday that he noticed that when Simpson was trying on a glove for the jury its structure appeared to have changed. “A bailiff told me the defense had it during the lunch hour.” He said he wasn’t specifically accusing anyone, adding: “It’s been my suspicion for a long time that the lining has been manipulated.”

Darden’s charge surprised key participants in the trial and related legal action. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who was a member of Simpson’s defense team, and Paul Callan, who represented Nicole Brown Simpson’s estate in a successful civil trial against Simpson, said it was the first time they had ever heard the allegation.

On Friday, Dershowitz called the claim that the defense had an opportunity to tamper with the gloves “a total fabrication” and said “the defense doesn’t get access to evidence except under controlled circumstances.”

Dershowitz said in a follow-up email that he “was certain” in this case that the defense team did not have access to the glove before it was tried on by Simpson in open court.

“Having made the greatest legal blunder of the 20th century,” Dershowitz said of Darden, “he’s trying to blame it on the dead man.”

Read/learn more at Reuters.

Watch video of Christopher Darden and Johnnie Cochran being interviewed by Larry King in 2000: