UnNews:Verdict looms in Saddam's trial for murder of Nicole Brown Simpson

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Verdict looms in Saddam's trial for murder of Nicole Brown Simpson

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5 November 2006

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Unnews saddam rifle

Saddam Hussein holds the murder weapon at the witness stand. Defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran told the jury that the rifle is too big for him, so "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqis are eagerly anticipating the verdict of their former leader Saddam Hussein’s murder trial, which has captivated the nation for over nine months. He stands accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Hussein has adamantly maintained his innocence and hired an all-star team of defense lawyers that only a dictator could afford.

The verdict is scheduled to be announced on Sunday, and will be carried live by all the major TV networks. The trial itself sparked a media frenzy, with reporters staked outside the courthouse in the heavily fortified Green Zone around the clock. Arab news leader Al-Jazeera has dubbed the proceedings the "Trial of the Century" and devoted almost its entire broadcast to the event for the past few weeks.

Everyone's obsession with the trial has brought an otherwise divided country together; during last week's closing arguments a dramatic drop in violence was noted as all the insurgents presumably took a break from killing to watch. Sunni bus driver Yusef al-Mufasa clearly recalled that day, "I was driving my bus on its regular route, when a Shiite Death Squad stopped and boarded. Apparently they got word that some Iraqi Army recruits were on board, so of course they decided to slaughter the traitors. Luckily though, one passenger had a portable TV set, which he quickly tuned to the trial. Captivated, the militants completely forgot about their goal and left everyone alive."

Nevertheless, the trial's verdict is expected to cause more sectarian strife in the volatile country. If Saddam is found guilty, his fellow Sunnis will riot; if innocent - the Shiites are sure to go on a rampage. Eager to get in on the action, Iraq's minority Kurds have promised to riot if a mistrial is declared. Even if found "not guilty," however, Mr. Hussein will continue to be locked up in preparation for his next trials. The former leader is being held accountable for multiple other atrocities committed by his regime, including the murder of Jon Bennet Ramsey, the death of Robert Blake's wife, and of course the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.

Saddam claims he's not guilty of all the charges, and that he was just "at the wrong place at the wrong time;" he vows to look for "the real genocider" if he is freed. But critics say his initial actions when confronted by police point to his guilt; many recall the infamous low-speed car chase he was involved in and his subsequent spider hole hideout. But polls show that opinions about Hussein's guilty are strongly divided along ethnic lines. Fellow Sunnis believe he was framed, while majority Shiites would prefer a guilty verdict. Sectarian tensions around Baghdad are still high after three Shiite policeman were found innocent of assault against Rodney al-King, despite videotape showing them beating the Sunni during a traffic stop.

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