Celebrities, by their nature, are well-known and constantly in the limelight, which can be good and bad. Any crime they are involved in, whether they are proven the perpetrator or not, get them in the front page. But also because they have more money than the average person, they can afford to hire a dream team of lawyers to defend them. Guilty or not, here are 6 celebrities who got away with major crimes even if, in the court of public opinion, they should have been convicted.
The most notorious of celebrities that got away, OJ Simpson is the multi-awarded American football running back that went on trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman in June 1994. His trial ended in October 1995 with an acquittal that was closely watched by around 100 million people.
His dream team of lawyers that included Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran and Robert Kardashian (father of the famous sisters,) among others got him the “not guilty” ruling. But unfortunately, they were not around in 2007-2008 to save him from multiple charges after robbing a Las Vegas casino hotel of memorabilia. He is currently serving 33 years in a Nevada prison and is eligible for parole in 2017.
Snoop Dogg, the popular American rapper who has recorded hit songs and albums, was charged with the murder of 20-year old Philip Woldermariam, a member of a rival gang. In 1993, his co-accused and bodyguard McKinley Lee shot the Ethiopian in a drive-by incident while riding in a black jeep that Snoop owned and drove. Snoop was in the midst of recording his debut album Doggystyle when the shooting occurred. Johnnie Cochran, the same lawyer who defended Simpson, represented the rapper in an LA court and got him acquitted.
The LAPD and district attorney’s office got quite a lot of flak for mishandling Simpson’s and Snoop Dogg’s cases. But it takes an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer to look into the technicalities and use them to their advantage.
Before he became the famous actor that he is now, Mark Wahlberg was a juvenile delinquent. He was already addicted to cocaine at the age of 13 and faced charges for stoning black kids when he was 15. When he was 16 and still a minor, he hit a Vietnamese in the head with a wooden stick that left him unconscious and punched another Vietnamese in the face, causing blindness in one eye. He was tried as an adult for attempted murder and assault and received a two-year prison sentence but served only 45 days.
In November 2014, Wahlberg applied for a pardon from the state of Massachusetts for his convictions. In September 2016, it was closed after he failed to follow up on it.
Matthew Broderick, an American movie and stage actor, killed a mother and daughter in a car crash in Northern Ireland while on vacation with his Ferris Bueller’s Day Off co-star and then girlfriend Jennifer Grey. This was in 1987, ten years before he met and married Sarah Jessica Parker. The 25-year old actor was charged with causing death by reckless driving and fined $175. The family of Margaret Doherty, 63 and Anna Gallagher, 28 remained bitter for many years after the accident. They have since forgiven the actor and sought to bring closure to the tragic deaths.
Tonya Harding is a former national and world figure skating champion and played in the Winter Olympics in 1992 and 1994 where she placed 4th and 8th respectively. For the 1994 Winter Olympics held at Lillehammer in Norway, Harding was a strong contender for one of two positions in the US Olympic figure skating team. The other one, Nancy Kerrigan, was a favorite and a competitor. For Harding, beating the competition took on a literal meaning. In January 1994, her ex-husband and three accomplices whacked Kerrigan’s knee after a practice session in Detroit. But it wasn’t enough to take her out of the Olympics where she won the silver and Harding placed eighth.
Harding’s band of thugs landed in jail but she, pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution, escaped with 3-years probation and a $160,000 fine. The US Figure Skating Association banned her for life.