Survivors: the Cleveland Kidnappings

I've been listening to Killafornia Dreaming Podcasts' vacation series and was blown away by part 1 about the Cleveland, Ohio kidnappings, wisely named after the survivors, Michelle, Amanda, and Georgia.

Who knew the podcast ep would time with the discovery a Perris, CA creepy-ass couple was keeping their kids chained up, and starved and otherwise abused.   I'm so glad they escaped, but what a horrific situation. How can humans do this to another? 

What I loved about the podcast is how how   host detailed the womens' lives, and how they came to be in this horrible situation. It humanized the event and made us feel viscerally there with them; they felt like real people to me, more so than they had when I read about the event. It's astonishing how this guy had a family that had no idea it was occurring.

As I await part 2, I went back down an internet rabbit hole. Here are some interesting links about the case and how the survivors rebuilt their lives.

Update on Survivors - 5/17

Interview with Amanda and Gina

Ariel Castro's daughter speaks to CNN

Big Little Lies: Women's Truth (SPOILERS)

I finally got HBO Go last week (where have you been all my life?!?) and almost immediately binged Big Little Lies. At first, I thought it was going to be an exercise in schadenfreude - about watching others with gorgeous, beautiful houses and lots of money tear each other apart socially and snarking while they did  it. (I guess I'm sort of an evil person deep down?!?)  But instead, it shows people who when the surface is scratched, are sincerely trying to their best, and cross class lines to bond together and protect each other.  (I should have known better - I've read another book by BLL's author, Liane Moriarty, and it avoided easy stereotypes.) This actually reflects my own experience as a woman, and the knowing looks, gentle gossip over wine, and pep talks the women share are very similar to my life, and this drew me closer than if it was a negative look at the lives of the rich and spoiled.

The reaction I didn't think I'd have is the tightened stomach-terror I got every time Nicole Kidman's character, Celeste, was abused by her husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgard).  I've seen scenes of domestic abuse before of course in films and tv; but this was so much more authentic to me than any other portrayal I've ever seen - because Perry's diabolical side is so totally opposite his perfect-husband facade.  The spiral down from the warmth and passion he projects to the abusive behavior is so gradual, just a crack here - his eyes glint a certain way there - that you know it's coming, and a dread takes over.  This show's portrayal of abuse is such a clarified presentation of it that it has truly changed my view of abuse, how it can be so carefully hidden. It opened my eyes more than any other show (fiction or non) I've seen on the subject.  Skarsgard had likely the most difficult role in it.

Parting Thoughts:

  • First you think Reese Witherspoon is peak Tracy Flick-Plus in this, but her performance is leavened with sincerity.  She takes what could be a caricature and makes her one of the most sympathetic characters on TV this year.
  • I agree with Celeste (and I've seen reviews point this out too) - assembling ikea furniture can be the last straw when you're at the end of your rope.
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  • The best piece on BLL, IMO is this article in New Yorker by Jia Tolentino.
  • My favorite scene: When Jane and Renata clear the air and come to a rational conclusion about the false-accusations swirling around their kids. It's a fantastic showcase in how powerful empathy can be.
     

Criminal Confessions: Oxygen's Best New True Crime Show

With the rebrand to all true-crime on Oxygen, there was an inundation of new content for mystery fans like myself.  My favorite of all of these is Criminal Confessions.  It's so cool watching the bad guys crack...and the show takes you into the investigation as well.  Interviews with family and friends of the victim and the detectives and prosecutors gives an inside look into the investigation, with the satisfying conclusion of seeing the perpetrator(s) confess. IMO, it's Oxygen's best new crime show.

My job used to be a super high stress one where i had to deal with multiple personality types, and super stressful situations (fabricated more by the people that I was working with and heightened by their emotions), and seeing cops on tv shows keeping their cool in LEGIT true crime stressful situations, and getting people to talk to them without losing their authority (Cold Justice is good for this too - about half of it is the team talking to people, including suspects).  I felt it was like diplomacy on speed. Even if you don't like the person you're talking to, you may not want to be adversarial. You have to use instinct and emotional intelligence, backed by knowledge.  So Criminal Confessions, which is pretty much all interrogation, has become extremely useful to me.

A few things that stand out to me about Criminal Confessions:

  • You see how body language, verbal communication, and communication techniques in general can ease a suspect into cracking.  There are some amazing techniques I never knew about.  There was one in particular when a rookie detective used some really brilliant language to finally melt a guy who was Just.Not.Talking. (I won't spoil it - watch the ep here.)

 

  • Going in cold and not knowing nothing about the case would obviously never fly if you are an investigator, but I've had many people (including older gentlemen cokcy about their negotiation skills) come into a meeting with me sure they can knock down my price or other peoples' prices (I worked a lot in project management where I had to secure vendors) but they knew nothing about our costs and overhead. I wanted to laugh them out of the room but instead i calmly educated them about my / other's services. So yeah...the more prepared you are, the better leverage you have over the other person.

Highlighting the Investigative Team on Criminal Confessions

I also love how the true crime show highlights the struggle of the detectives and the heart they bring to the work.  Sometimes they'll say how emotional they got, how frustrated. We're so used to seeing cops being calm, cool and collected, but this show allows us to see the human side. 

And that's why I love Criminal Confessions...businesspeople, lawyers, anyone who negotiates a lot or is in stressful situations with difficult personalities, I highly recommend they watch this show.

Oh Hell No: Payne Lindsay is NOT a podcaster, everyone

Picture this: I'm on a plane,delayed several hours, having been stuck in airport limbo waiting for this connecting flight. I'm tired, I overspent on airplane food (having no other options), and I turn to my precious Stitcher app to see what podcast can ease my way for the final hour of my long trip.

I see that "Crime Writers On" is spilling tea about a certain happening at the podcast convention (Podcast Movement) some of the hosts attended, about Payne Lindsey. If you don't know him, he's the creator of "Up and Vanished," where he looked into the case of a Tara Grinstead. SPOILER BELOW:

Possibly due to the attention his podcast drew to the case, an arrest was made.

Anyone would be a little proud of the effect their work had on a real life case, but Lindsay took it to the next level.  He aired segments of interviews of people complimenting him on his work, and then had a live show of the podcast that was way too over the top considering the sobering case as its subject.  I was disconcerted by this, and wasn't too sure about listening to the next season. Also, the final few episodes were super repetitive.

Well, apparently his arrogance also spread to real life, as described by the team at Crime Writers On.  He gave a presentation disparaging other podcasters (!) far more experienced than he, and had models in t-shirts with supposedly disruptive messaging ( I believe he wore a shirt that said I AM NOT A PODCASTER).  This also turned into a twitter war between established podcasters and Lindsay's acolytes.  Listen to the recap here.

This whole affair shines a light on the fine line between investigation and entertainment.  While Serial revolutionized podcasts, Hae Min Lee's family is still grieving intensely and dealing with the publicity.  An episode of "Snapped" may be engrossing television,  but real people die in the telling. That said, for the most part, the best true crime podcasts have an activist, heartfelt feel, and you don't see people like Bob Ruff and the  Undisclosed team parading around like peacocks.  They're too busy solving crimes and saving lives to do so.

Funnily enough, a parody podcast that really nails Up and Vanisheds' MO and style, Done Disappeared, is becoming a hit and is a total delight. It pokes gentle fun and even skewered Crime Writers On, much to their delight.  John David Booter (also a hilarious name) is investigating the disappearance of Clara Pockets, in 10-minute hysterical snippets that also parody the ads that show up during these podcasts (I particularly love when something horrific is being detailed in a podcast and then it cuts to, with no warning, a jaunty ad for, like, Blue Apron.)  Well done, John David, whoever you REALLY are (perhaps a podcaster who attended the Podcast Movement conference?)

 

 

Search Party : Season Two Is Killin It (Pun Intended) SPOILERS

I'm the kind of person that doesn't like anything too dark. Of course, I watch true crime shows, but they don't layer on extra pathos or sadness - they're straightforward and matter of fact.  But navel-gazing, overwrought dramas with uneasy or unhappy endings, I just don't like. I struggled with anxiety and mild depression off and on in my life, and now after feeling really in control of my issues, I just like what I like and avoid anything too depressing.

So I thought I'd have issues with Search Party, as the marketing pitched it as hipsters finding themselves, colored with lots of stares into the uncertain future and pretentious bon mots - I had to watch it though as of course it was about an investigation, how could I not? And I'm so glad I did - I LOVE IT.  It's now become a twisted Thanksgiving tradition (it premieres around mid or late Nov).  I'm sure you've heard of it (and have watched it since the headline boldly proclaims SPOILERS), but if you haven't, it's about a group of hipsters, who indulge their friend Dory's obsession with finding a missing acquaintance from her college days.  They all fit a hipster stereotype - the flitty actress (Meredith Hagner), the normcore boyfriend (John Reynolds), the man-about-town but how-does-he-pay-rent-does-he-have-a-job? fabulous fabulist (John Early playing Elliot, who is one of the funniest fucking people alive).  Leading them all is Dory, the millennial leading a meh life who craves authority and excitement. She is played by the magnetic Alia Shawkat who I want to see in everything now as I can't take my eyes off her when she's on screen.

What makes the show so great is that tonally it nails both dark humor, intense drama (someone gets killed in the first season, and the second season is about thwarting the authorities), and hipster satire.  The actors do play stereotypes, but they fill them in with so many shades of quirks, humor, desperation, everything - and do it so well.  And I have to say it again - John Early is a freakin genius. That's saying a lot because the other actors are also brilliant.  PS Early's outfits are amazing, and I found the designer who makes Elliot's style come to life on Instagram, give her a follow: Heidi Lee.

There's a really amazing alignment with the show and the sexual harassment reckoning happening now, where it calls to question legitimately a woman's claim of abuse, and female-on-male harassment.  Totally in the zeitgeist and mind blowing considering the episodes were, I imagine, shot before the Harvey Weinstein scandal started the tsunami of allegations.  So well done and it flips on its head the whole issue.  Search Party is about truth and how we try to hide behind it, and while it seems this season may not lead to many more plot twists, I'm hoping it becomes a Thanksgiving tradition for at least a few more years.

Thinking Sideways

One of my favorite podcasts (out of soooo many I listen to) is the Thinking Sideways podcast. It's three buddies who met at a bar (love it already!) who like to talk about mysteries, conspiracies, and other unknowns.  The first half is one of them explaining what the case is, then the second half-ish is all about theories. 

It's very lowkey, easygoing, and almost comforting to listen to...but not slow paced, mind you.  It really does sound like three smart, curious buddies at a bar thoroughly unpacking a mystery.  My favorite episodes so far include the cruise ship disappearance of Rebecca Corriam (Devon's experience working a cruise ship added a great dimension to the episode) and the faux identity of Jonathan Newton Chandler.

Some podcasters don't have a very tight flow or outline to work from - you can tell, they loosey-goosey go lazily from topic to another, which gets aggravating - what I like about this group is, they are conversational and casual, but they definitely organize their talking points - you can tell (or at least it SOUNDS like it!).  All in all a great listen - and highly recommended.

Scandal in the OC: LA Times exposes a frameup

Was reading about Rabia Chaudry's book in the LA Times (here's the link) when at the bottom, was a link to a story about a PTA mom being framed...I totally bit, and got consumed with this fascinating 6-part story (they're four parts in) about a diabolical plan to basically ruin a person's life.  I wont' say more, but you have to read it. Okay, I'll say one thing: It reminds me of people who are obsessed with image, and their kids.  Like their kids have to be the center of everyone else's universe, not just their own.  Ugh.  Really enjoyed this article.

Meantime, I'm also reading "Adnan's Story," and found it immersive from the get-go. Additional insight from Rabia about her own life (including what sounds like a disastrous first marriage) and her Muslim culture is really fascinating, and we also get to read firsthand Adnan's thoughts and opinions.  It's also the pre-eminent guide to his case, bringing together all in once place all the facts of the case and the timeline of the case from beginning to end.  One of those books that makes you want to call in sick and finish in one fell swoop...if only!

Unlocking the Truth on MTV

Shockingly, with all the mystery/social justice/true crime podcasters I follow, I had no idea Unlocking the Truth was coming up until just about 2 weeks ago.  It's because I watch Catfish, which is basically the only show I watch on MTV because I'm so past the Millennial age bracket.  But Unlocking the Truth seems to be something just as ready for TNT or more older-demographic oriented channels, though it has the MTV touch (music, quick editing, two young hosts).

For this inaugural season, they are looking into two cases:  Michael Politte, and Kalvin Michael Smith.  Politte was accused of murdering his mother, Rita, and we learn a lot about his case in the first ep.  Through the first hour, we learn that, big shock, a kid is questioned without counsel, the evidence is shaky, but OH! He failed a voice analysis test. (WHAT?) Do you think they also checked into Rita's ex-husband's situation and treat HIM like a suspect?

Other thoughts:

1.  Traces of evidence on his shoes totally echoes Edward Ate's case.

2. Tunnel Vision: The great killer of justice. Would it have taken that much longer to dig deeper into Rita's ex?  How different would the Adnan Syed case have turned out if they dug deeper into Don's falsified time cards (whether or not that meant he was guilty, it seemed a heck of a lot more proof he did something than Jay WIlds' bizarre testimony).

Also compelling is the host's background, Ryan Ferguson and Eva Nagau. I actually want to learn more about Eva and hear some of her stories from past cases she's worked on.  Ryan's situation is delved into in great detail, and you can read more about him here and here . His family had the resources to keep pushing to get him out of prison, a stark contrast to the two prisoners that this show is helping this season, who desperately need the help of these two and the Midwest Innocence Project. I'm already fascinated by the show and can't wait for the next episode.

Actually infuriating stories about the actually innocent...Overturned Convictions

Listening to Undisclosed turned me on to Actual Innocence, a compelling podcast about people who were wrongfully accused and finally exonerated. Brooke Gittings is the host and her social work background enhances her ability to look into deeper than the legal wheelings and dealings, but also what the subjects experienced emotionally and how their personal lives played out during the horrible experiences they had. 

Her first subject is Julie Baumer, who was also featured on a 60 Minutes episode about death row exonerees. (In some states, those set free get barely a DIME from the government! I smell lawsuit, no?)  Worth a watch.

What will just boggle your mind is how little evidence is used to get these people locked up.  Pretty much no real evidence is used.  It's shocking, and scary, and makes you want to wear a Go Pro at all times day and night so you never have to defend yourself should you cross paths with a deceased person or stolen goods or whatever.  honestly, I feel like listening to all these podcasts is probably a good thing so we know how the system works, and how to watch out for the dangerous mistakes the authorities and defense counsel can make.

Recently, Real Crime Profile had Raquel Cohen of the California Innocence Project discuss her overturned convictions (or those in process).  She actually said that she doesn't fault prosecutors for trying to 'meet a quota' of wins, she actually gives them the benefit of a doubt. Her calm nature makes me think she is perfect for the difficult job she has. Co-hosting the podcast was Allison Weiner, who is host of a show called Crime Time, which you can check out here at its Facebook page.

Addendum with Jon Cryer

If you haven't read Jon Cryer's autobiography, get thee to Amazon and order it asap. It's funny, refreshing, frank, and very clear that he's super intelligent, articulate, and great with facts - thus, a fabulous choice for a host for Undisclosed's Addendum.

The guests on this first episode of Season 2 were Susan, Colin, and Representative Keith Ellison. What I thought was interesting was that in the past, the Addendas were chock full of additional info about the case - because hours of podcasting and tons of articles had already been written about Adnan. At this time, we're so fresh into the Season 2 case, that the questions are hungry for brand new information but they can't GIVE IT AWAY or it will spoil future episodes. I bet by episode 3 they'll click into high gear.

Meantime, Rep. Ellison and the rest got into a good discussion on the criminal justice system and the complications of reforming it; leading me to review this article from the Atlantic. Very relevant stuff in this article. 

 

OJ: Made in America: Brave - bold - eye opening

I am one of the many who saw American Crime Story and is fascinated and disgusted with the OJ Simpson case.  It's crazier than fiction, and a tragic story.

For the first time, OJ: Made in America made it real to me. Not that it wasn't real in the sense that two people were victims of a terrible action; but I suppose, the victims and the situation almost became lore or legend, and oft-told 'story.'

With OJ: Made in America, you saw the real crime scene photos; you heard from close friends of OJ and Nicole and Ron Goldman; you saw photos of Nicole with her babies, so innocent, and you heard from police who tried to bust OJ for hurting her.  You felt regret for that they didn't push arresting him hard enough, and regret she couldn't escape his nonsense.  You felt discomfort when you understood why black leaders felt there was some justice in this unjust ruling, and when a juror admitted it was revenge for the Rodney King beating.

With Truth and Justice podcast shining a light on outrageous racism in the Smith County, TX judicial system, I finally understood why one black man getting off scot-free for a crime seemed like small injustice compared to the millions of black men who are falsely incarcerated or disproportionately sentenced. The documentary made this concept real, though it still is absurd OJ was found innocent, and it still makes me angry.

Another element that drew me to it, was that after watching American Crime Story, I'd google actual crime footage - and here it all was. It was sort of the 'real life' companion to ACS.  With the shit going down in our country with racially charged police brutality, this is the kind of thign that is required viewing for Americans. Simultaneously, it shines a light on domestic abuse and reminding us anyone is capable of anything, and to act when you see a friend or family member abused. [ Crime Writers On... had a great discussion on the show.]  We'll never stop talking about this case, but now, we have the definitive breakdown of what happened, why, and how.

A lesson in Decision Making: Catching the Unabomber (Real Crime Profile)

Real Crime Profile keeps rolling out some amazing episodes.  Laura Richards' episode breaking down Nicole Brown Simpson's letters to OJ Simpson and elucidating the behavior of victims of abuse was incredibly educational. Then more recently, Jim Clemente interviewed his former colleague James Fitzgerald, who was integral to catching one of our country's most infamous criminals, the Unabomber.

What I found most compelling about this episode was how red herrings can come about (like a hair deliberately stuck in envelope glue, or a mailroom man's note written on a letter that was not a clue at all), and the way Fitzgerald used forensic linguistics.  By evaluating the writing of the Unabomber, he was able to really break down who this guy was, and help catch him. The key decision point in this was by publishing the letters in newspapers, which he strongly encouraged. He knew the turn of phrase was so distinctive, someone was going to see the letters and realize it was someone they knew.

The case was thus solved shortly after publication, when Ted Kaczynski's sister in law saw the letter and called attention to it to her husband.

In my humble opinion, James and Jim could have their own podcast. I want to hear how James analyzed the anthrax case of 2001 (cautioning the FBI that they had the wrong guy), and breakdown other high profile cases they've worked on.  I hope the podcast gods hear me on this one... 

Bowraville - aka., how Crime Writers On...is the gateway drug to other podcasts

If it weren't for the Crime Writers On... podcast, I'd be bereft of good podcast listening. I run my own business so I'm stupid-busy, and don't always have time to discover new true crime podcasts, but there they are, Rebecca and co., tantalizing me with new, well told, compassionate stories of mystery and injustice.

Most recently, they recommended Bowraville, and had the reporter behind this podcast on the show. (The podcast is actually found under the umbrella of The Australian newspaper. Also, apparently I have a hard time spelling Australian because it took me three attempts.)  Similar to the most recent William Ates case on Truth and Justice, this podcast is about small-town injustice, but this time not because someone was falsely convicted, but because they possibly were falsely acquitted. And, that racism got in the way of treating the victims' families with swift attention once the victims went missing.

The wikipedia page has a good introduction to the overall crimes, and an insightful article about the podcasts - spoiling the last episode, so be forewarned - is here

Following up: Looking forward to Limetown, the Message, and others

I hate being in suspense. (So why do I listen to mystery podcasts?? Sigh.)  I was poking around the internet trying to find out when Limetown is returning, the fictional podcast about the disappearance of an entire town, that ended with a heart-pounding finale.  Well, they're in a holding pattern, but for a good reason.  See this link for an explanation of why the producers ARE coming back, but can't promise when.  But it looks like the story is expanded into other media, which is fantastic.

For the Message - the last episode of which I listened to three times - looooved it - I got nada.  Granted, I didn't spend the whole afternoon looking, but I was hoping GE or Panoply would have something in the way of teasing a second season, or, since the first season did have some resolution, creating a new podcast with a similar tone and goal to introduce another element of technology that GE wants to highlight. It's a rare of case of Big Business actually doing something unique with (somewhat) mass media.

Ah, and Undisclosed...June 1st and July 11th, big announcements! The hosts' twitter feeds have established they have a case for season 2...can't wait!

Victimology: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

For so long, I've been reading books about true crime and watching legal/mystery shows, but after listening to podcasts about true life mysteries - especiallyReal Crime Profile - I've realized a huge aspect of solving these crimes is about examining the victim, and their lives, behaviours, and friends and family - i.e., Victimology.  Listening to the Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman episodes of Real Crime Profile, particularly the special episode where Laura and Lisa read Nicole's letters to OJ, are incredibly eye opening.  Combined with statistics about homicide in abusive relationships, and how could OJ not be the prime suspect?

This is also the case in missing persons cases.  Whom have they last spoken to? Have they had a recent breakup? Do they engage in risky activities?  A trail can go cold before too long and taking a deep dive into their recent behaviors and relationships can tell a lot about a person's fate.

It appears Hae Min Lee's pager records were never examined, and the records are gone forever.  Imagine how those could have cracked the case.  This would seem to me a gross dereliction of duty on the behalf of law enforcement and would definitely come up in a second trial for Adnan Syed.  As I google "victimology" and various other key terms, articles for law enforcement professionals continually state it's an 'overlooked' aspect of crime solving.  I'm thinking all these podcasts on true crime and armchair investigators will shed new light on this egregious oversight.

Undisclosed Spells it all Out

Oh joy! That feeling you get when you realize you've checked your Stitcher feed RIGHT after an Undisclosed podcast has dropped!

As usual, the Undisclosed team lays it all out beautifully in their recap - part 5 - of the PCR hearing for Adnan Syed.  Points I found especially compelling:

1.  C. Justin Brown reminding the judge that the State's witnesses were either having a hard time answering questions or didn't state facts about the space...like the library security guard. Not much compelling evidence was provided by the State...if any?

2.  Thiru's desperate attempts to turn things around by stating that Cristina Gutierrez was providing competent, vigorous defense of her client...when he couldn't get an attorney to state that on the stand! (Susan wisely points out that no attorney would claim that not calling an alibi witness like Asia McClain was okay - they'd lose business!)

3.  Reminding us that Abe Waranowitz would not have given the same testimony at the first trial, had he seen the cell tower reports in full, as he has now.

I wonder, if this goes to trial...the only evidence that holds up is...nothing. The cell tower data could get thrown out, right?  And then...it's just Jay's testimony?  I can't see Adnan losing again.  Time will tell, but certainly the Undisclosed team thought the PCR hearing went brilliantly, and C. Justin Brown was excellent in court.  Fascinating listening - I felt like I was in the courtroom myself.

Why Truth and Justice Podcast is Important Listening

When Bob Ruff started the Serial Dynasty (now Truth and Justice) podcast, it certainly carried the same weight as Undisclosed in regards to righting what is most likely a wrong, i.e., Adnan Syed's wrongful conviction.  Then when he took a new case, the Kenny Snow case from Smith County, Texas, at first, while it was clearly an important case and you felt for Snow and his family (if he really didn't do the crime), I'll admit, it didn't have the same sheen of drama that the Adnan Syed case. It was a bit complex and at first hard to follow. (Ruff knew this and elegantly clarifies the facts as needed and reviews certain elements as he goes along).

But quickly, it became clear that Kenny Snow's case illuminates many more huge injustices.  As context, Ruff explained the case of Kerry Max Cook and how Tyler, TX has been corrupt for generations.  Then, the Edward Ates murder case started coming into view - Kenny Snow was part of putting Ates away by falsely testifying to Ates' jailhouse confession - and suddenly, you realize this is the tip of the iceberg for a county that has been playing with peoples' lives and ruining them, just to get convictions.  No bodily fluid evidence that matched Ates was found at the crime scene; there was some evidence, but never tested against other suspects.  Incredible.

Underlying this whole mess are racial inequalities, like Snow's huge sentence for robbery (yet his alleged victim of the robbery, a white man, got away with just three years' sentence for SHOOTING HIS WIFE).  Now it is clear that Bob is taking on a systemic issue that needs to be stopped.  While the first few episodes about the Kenny Snow case took some time to 'get into,' this podcast is well worth following; the ramifications could change peoples lives, and certainly, shine a spotlight on a judicial system that needs to be changed, stat.

 

 

EDTA In the Sock: Framing a Guilty Man

Yesterday, I was hopping around channels in my car to try to get the latest gossip about the presidential elections (sad to say, it can really be considered 'gossip', not news, anymore).  I clicked on POTUS, the political channel of Sirius radio, and host Michael Smerconish was playing interviews from his archive - of players of the OJ Simpson trial.  I just managed to catch the very last one, of Alan Dershowitz.

Smerconish asked him about the verdict, and Dershowitz said that while the evidence pointed to guilt, the EDTA blood preservative was found in the blood-soaked socks in Simpson's bedroom.  And that raised reasonable doubt, and boom, you have a not-guilty verdict.  (This issue of EDTA will ring a bell for followers of the "Making a Murder" Steven Avery case.)

So, down the internet rabbit hole I went, googling this claim.  And, after a little poking around,  while this doesn't sound like slam dunk evidence, at least according to this recap of EDTA testimony from during the trial, on NYTimes.com, but you can see how it would tilt the jury towards innocence.  The prosecution's efforts to rebound didn't seem to work well either

At that time, the test available wasn't sophisticated enough to discern between natural EDTA sometimes found in the blood stream and the chemical used by crime labs. It was a gray area, really, at least from what I could see in reading analysis online. A gray area, but a compelling one to consider towards innocence. 

Smerconish echoed the thoughts of many of the public - that the LAPD may have tried to frame a guilty man.  Dershowitz seemed to agree, though he didn't come out and say it!  Regardless, the majority of people believe OJ Simpson is guilty, and the rest of the evidence is undeniable, but perhaps the EDTA evidence, no matter how vague, could have unfortunately tilted the jury towards innocence.