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Christopher Darden, the former Los Angeles deputy district attorney who co-tried the 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, accused the late Johnnie Cochran of “manipulating” the “bloody glove” the suspect tried on during the case, Reuters reports.

Darden made the claim during a panel discussion at Pace University Law School in New York City on Thursday afternoon.

“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.”

Reuters has more on this explosive claim:

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.”

He said he had previously voiced similar concerns in TV interviews, but could not recall the details.

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

Cochran became known for the line during the murder trial that went, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Cochran died in 2005 of brain cancer.

Simpson was acquitted of murdering his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in that case. But, in 1997, a civil court ruled that he was liable for their deaths, ordering Simpson to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families.

He is currently serving a “up to 33 years in prison for a 2007 armed robbery in which he claimed he was trying to recover his own sports memorabilia.”

(source Newsone/reuters)