Renowned attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., who made a name successfully defending celebrities like O.J. Simpson, Puff Daddy, and Snoop Dogg in high-profile cases, died today (March 29) at the age of 67.
Cochran died of an inoperable brain tumor at his home in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, according to his brother-in-law Bill Baker.
His wife and his two sisters were at his side when he passed away.
“Certainly, Johnnie’s career will be noted as one marked by celebrity cases and clientele,” his family said in a statement. “But he and his
family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community.”
Cochran is probably best recognized for defending football star O.J. Simpson in the early 90s during a high-profile murder trial that divided the country and made popular Cochran’s lasting phrase, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
But before then, the highly sought after attorney defended ordinary citizens against the Los Angeles Police Department’s uncivil practices.
He also served as Snoop Dogg’s lawyer during the rapper’s trial in November of 1995 when Snoop was charged as an accomplice to
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs hired Cochran when faced with charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degree, stemming from a 2001 shootout at a New York nightclub.
Combs, Simpson and Snoop Dogg were all acquitted.
More recently, Cochran defended Rosa Parks during her appeal to reopen a lawsuit against Outkast over their hit song that uses her name in
In the still pending trial, Parks claimed that the group was using her name for profit without compensating her.
Outkast was later dropped as a defendant.
Cochran once mentioned that his biggest disappointment came when his client Elmer “Geronimo Ji Jaga” Pratt, a Nationalist activist, Vietnam War veteran and godfather to Tupac Shakur, was convicted of murder in 1972.
Authorities alleged that Pratt robbed and shot a young white couple on a tennis court in 1968.
The woman died, and her husband survived to
identify Pratt in a line-up two years after the shooting.
A judge in Orange County overturned Pratt’s conviction in 1997 after he served 27 years in prison, a day Cochran described to the Los
Angeles Times as the happiest in his career.
“Johnny would be one the attorneys that we would get to assist the Panthers. He’s like my brother. We are like family members,” Geronimo
told AllHipHop.com. “Johnny was always there. …Johnny was instrumental in a lot of tactic. He is a media personality.”
Cochran received a law degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1962 after graduating from UCLA.
His national law firm Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, L.L.P. eventually became “The Cochran Firm” and is the country’s largest personal injury plaintiffs tort law firm.
The Cochran Firm, which currently has offices in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Washington, D.C. among other places, has not
released a statement yet.
Funeral services for Cochran have yet to be announced.