Christopher Allen Darden|
April 7, 1956
Richmond, California, United States
San Jose State University (BS)|
University of California, Hastings (JD)
|Spouse(s)||Marcia Carter (m. 1997)|
Christopher Allen "Chris" Darden (born April 7, 1956) is an American lawyer, author, actor, lecturer, and practicing attorney. He was a 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, where he was assigned to the prosecution of O. J. Simpson, a role in which he gained a great deal of national attention.
Early life and education
Darden was born in Richmond, California, the fourth of eight siblings. After graduating from John F. Kennedy High School in 1974, Darden enrolled at San Jose State University, where he participated in track and field and joined Alpha Phi Alpha, an African-American fraternity. He received his B.S. in criminal justice administration in 1977. Darden received his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings in 1980.
Darden took and passed the California Bar Exam in the summer of 1980. He was subsequently unemployed for four months before taking a job with the National Labor Relations Board in Los Angeles. Dissatisfied with the work, he applied for and got a position with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, and was initially assigned to the Huntington Park office before moving on to Beverly Hills, and finally to the Criminal Courts Building (CCB) in downtown Los Angeles in late 1983.
During his tenure as a prosecutor at the CCB, Darden served in the central trials and hard-core gang units before transferring to the Special Investigation Division (SID), which investigates criminal activity by public and law enforcement officials, in February 1988. It was in this position that Darden first met Johnnie Cochran, who would represent the victims of police violence.
Darden initially became involved in the O. J. Simpson murder case after being asked by Deputy District Attorneys Marcia Clark and William Hodgman to lead the prosecution of Al Cowlings, Simpson's friend and the driver of the white Ford Bronco during the infamous car chase. Although that particular case fell through due to lack of evidence to prove criminal intent, Clark requested Darden join the Simpson team as case manager since she and Hodgman were bogged down by various motions and filings from the defense. Darden was also tasked by Clark to prepare for testimony, among others, Detective Mark Fuhrman. After Hodgman's medical incapacitation shortly before opening statements, Darden was named co-prosecutor.
Darden resigned after the O.J. Simpson case and joined the faculty at California State University, Los Angeles, where he taught undergraduate criminal law. That same year, he was appointed Associate Professor of Law at Southwestern University School of Law. Darden taught and specialized in criminal procedure and trial advocacy.
Darden is a former legal commentator for CNBC, CNN, Court TV, and NBC, and a frequent guest and commentator on CNN, Court TV, and Fox News Network. He has made guest appearances on Touched by an Angel, Girlfriends, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Howard Stern Show, Muppets Tonight, Roseanne, the movie Liar Liar (uncredited), and the TV movie One Hot Summer Night (in which he plays a disgruntled policeman). He is the former principal attorney in the syndicated legal show Power of Attorney.
Darden is also a writer. In addition to In Contempt, which chronicles his experiences with the O.J. Simpson trial, he co-authored (with Dick Lochte) a number of crime novels, including The Trials of Nikki Hill (1999), LA Justice (2000), and The Last Defense (2002).
Darden left the law school in 1999 and started his own firm, Darden & Associates, Inc., specializing in criminal defense and civil litigation. In December 2007, he was considered for elevation to a judgeship by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In an interview by Oprah Winfrey that aired February 9, 2006, Darden stated that he still believes Simpson is guilty. He added that he was nearly as disgusted with the perjury of Mark Fuhrman as by the murders of Goldman and Simpson.[not in citation given]
Although rumors persisted of a sexual relationship between Marcia Clark and Darden, both have denied such a relationship existed. Both consider their relationship to be extremely close, a result of the intense pressures of the Simpson trial.
In 1996, he revealed he was a Republican and stated he would disclose his Party choice at the 1996 Republican National Convention.
Honors and awards
- In 1998, Darden received the Crystal Heart Award from Loved Ones of Homicide Victims, an organization devoted to aiding families that have suffered the loss of loved ones as a result of violence.
- In 2000, he was recognized as "Humanitarian of the Year" by Eli Horne, a California shelter for abused children and women.
In popular culture
- Darden and Marcia Clark were parodied in the Emmy-nominated Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
- In The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016), Darden was portrayed by Sterling K. Brown, who won an Emmy Award for his performance.
- "Christopher Darden". Biography.com. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Darden, Christopher (1996). In Contempt. Thorndike, Maine: G.K. Hall. ISBN 9780783818580.
- "Christopher Allen Darden". The State Bar of California. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
- Byrne, Bridget (September 24, 1997). "Chris Darden Marries Different Marcia". EOnline.com. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Newsweek". PastPaper.com. 1995–1999. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "Trial and Tribulation". Oprah.com. February 9, 2006. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
- "Ex-O.J. Simpson Prosecutor Christopher Darden Seeking Judgeship". metnews.com. Metropolitan News-Enterprise. December 18, 2007. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Ex-prosecutor claims OJ Simpson attorney tampered with glove". NBCNews.com. Reuters. September 8, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Former O.J. Simpson Prosecutor Christopher Darden: 'Now I Can Be Pissed Off'". Huffington Post. January 6, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
- Seemayer, Zach. "EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Darden Finally Admits He Was 'More Than Friends' With Marcia Clark". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- Macklin, William R. (1996-04-03). "Indignation Intact, Darden Becomes Best-selling Author A Registered Republican, Darden Would Like To Speak At This Year's Gop Convention". philly.com. Retrieved 2016-03-13.