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Johnny Cochran, May You Rest in Peace.....

....but celebrity or not, it would be like a stadium full of people urinating on my casket, or having a horse size bowel movement on my grave to have a....... good Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, a Poverty Pimping Danny Bakewell, other no good Jackleg individuals, and/or any member of the deceitful Congressional Black Caucus showing up at my wake, funeral, or burial.

When you lay down with low down dirty dogs, you always get up covered from head to toe, with disease carrying fleas!

.....unless of course the one being buried is just as worthless, then it wouldn't matter because these would be your best homies.

.....but Oh well, everybody has the right or option to pick and choose their own heroes.

Thousands Pay Tribute to Cochran
By Carla Hall and John Spano
Times Staff Writers

Dozens of celebrities and thousands of neighbors flocked to South Los Angeles today for the funeral of Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., as the city's most prominent courtroom lawyer was praised as a man who "did justice" for victims of police abuse and the well-healed alike.

"Johnnie fought for his clients, no matter how popular or unpopular the verdict was," said Cochran's most famous client, O.J.Simpson, as he entered the packed, 5,000-seat West Angeles Cathedral in South Los Angeles. "He was the best."

Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, the former Black Panther Party leader was among those who eulogized Cochran, who helped free him after he had served 27 years in prison wrongly convicted of murder. Cochran called Pratt's his proudest victory.

"I salute Johnnie, I salute Johnnie with all of the fervor, and all of the for-realness, for all of the brothers and sisters who are still in prison," Pratt said to a standing ovation

Hundreds of mourners had lined up early this morning for entry to the service, which spanned 3 hours and 45 minutes. Attending was Simpson, Cochran's most famous victory, singer Michael Jackson, another former Cochran client, and Thomas Mesereau Jr, the lawyer defending Jackson in his ongoing child molestation trial in Santa Barbara County.

Captains of commerce, politics and entertainment sat together. Stevie Wonder rose from a seat in the front row to sing to Cochran's memory. Supermarket magnate Ronald Burkle was there. U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and several other members of Congress attended, as did Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant assaulted by New York City police whom the lawyer represented.

Quoting the Biblical injunction to "do justice," Mayor James K. Hahn praised Cochran's dedication to his profession.

"He didn't just love justice, or admire justice," Hahn said. "He did justice. He achieved justice. He fought for justice. He made it happen."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Cochran "the tallest tree in our legal forest. He was great before he was famous. He was great for standing with the nameless and the faceless, who were without resources."

"The Biblical David slew one Goliath, but Johnnie slew Goliaths over and over and over again," Jackson said.

Each speaker underscored Cochran's four-decade long legal career, and cited the principles for which he stood.

"Johnnie Cochran represented to us justice personified, in the flesh and in the blood," said the Reverend Al Sharpton.

The service began with family members, who recalled Cochran's struggle to carry on despite his physical decline, and the faith which they said sustained him..

"Johnnie saw death coming," said William A. Baker, Sr., married to Cochran's sister. "He stood his ground"

His daughter, Melodie Cochran described her father as a devout, self-described Christian.,

"God gave him a divine call to bring forth justice," she said. "He was obedient to the call that God had upon his life.":

His son, Jonathan Cochran, said, "For whatever reason God needed a lawyer in heaven and he said, 'call Johnnie Cochran'."

Tiffany Cochran Edwards, another daughter, tearfully remembered Cochran as a loving father, "the first man to send me flowers, a Valentine, my confidante."

Long before his defense of Simpson, Cochran challenged what many viewed as police misconduct and brutality toward people under arrest, winning large cash awards for those who claimed to have been victimized.

The Shreveport, La., native died of an inoperable brain tumor at age 67 at his home in Los Angeles.

Cochran wrote in a memoir that he grew up wanting to be a lawyer because he loved to debate, a skill he honed at the dinner table and at Los Angeles High School. A UCLA graduate, he worked as a prosecutor in Los Angeles after earning a degree from Loyola Law School in 1962.

His clients weren't always black: He represented Reginald O. Denny, the white trucker beaten by a mob during the 1992 riots after the not-guilty verdicts in the Rodney G. King beating were announced.

Instead of arguing police brutality, Cochran contended that the trucker's civil rights had been violated when police failed to do their jobs after being ordered to withdraw from the intersection of Florence Avenue and Normandie Street, a flash point of the riots where Denny was pulled from his big rig and attacked.

The victory that Cochran said he savored most was not on behalf of one of the many celebrities he defended, but winning Pratt's freedom.

Authorities contended that Pratt, a Vietnam War veteran, robbed and shot a young white couple on a public tennis court in Santa Monica in December, 1968. Cochran has said his biggest disappointment was watching his client, Pratt, convicted of murder in 1972.

And he said his greatest triumph came when a judge reversed that conviction 25 years later, after disclosure that an informant in the case was working for prosecutors.

"I had learned that prosecutors and law enforcement officials, convinced of their own righteousness, would do anything to make the system yield the 'right result,' " he wrote.

Years later, Cochran would suggest that the LAPD did just that to make its case against Simpson -- and others would accuse Cochran of using similar methods to defend his client.

It was the Simpson criminal trial that defined Cochran's career. While it made him a household name and offered him access to virtually every high-profile criminal case, it also changed his life "drastically and forever," he wrote in "A Lawyer's Life." "It obscured everything I had done previously."

More galling and perplexing to him was the criticism that rained down after the Simpson verdicts, denouncing his legal strategy that put the competence and character of the Los Angeles Police Department on trial.

During the trial, Cochran and the rest of the defense team excoriated criminalists for sloppy work that compromised blood evidence and claimed that the police prejudged Simpson. Cochran and his "Dream Team," as the defense attorneys were known, revealed that Det. Mark Fuhrman, who collected key evidence in the case, had a history of making racist remarks.

The course of Cochran's four-decade career zigzagged across the legal landscape, starting in the Los Angeles city attorney's office, where he eagerly prosecuted drunk-driving cases, and ending in a private practice that earned him wealth and fame.

Resplendently tailored and silky-voiced, clever and genteel, Cochran came to epitomize the formidable litigator, sought after by the famous and wealthy, the obscure and struggling, all believing that they were victims of the system in one way or another.

Ever aware of his public image, the attorney delighted in the attention and even played along, showing up in the occasional movie or TV show in a cameo role as himself.



Michael Lofton


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