Forensically Incorrect! O.J. Simpson and the Palace Station Audio Tapes

Should O.J. Simpson be granted a new trial? Habeas Hard Drive is happy to leave the legal commentary to the lawyers.  But can we talk about those “tapes” for a moment?

The man who set up the appointment between O.J. and the sports memorabilia dealers in a guest room at the Palace Station secretly recorded the confrontation. Here’s Habeas Hard Drive’s take on the forensically incorrect evidence that became the apparent lynchpin for a jury verdict. (Habeas Hard Drive was present for a tiny slice of the testimony in Judge Linda Bell’s courtroom earlier this month, and not at all during the 2008 trial.  The following is based only on what we heard last month from witnesses, or on 2008 press accounts which may or may not be entirely accurate.)

  •  $250K to analyze the audio tapes:  Are you kidding?

O.J.’s friend Jim Barnett testified at the recent hearing that he’d raised concerns during the 2008 trial about the integrity of the recordings.  As an engineer, he understood how easily tampering could have occurred, and wanted defense attorney Yale Galanter to hire an expert to analyze the recordings.

Galanter told Barnett a professional analysis would cost $250,000.  If only this kind of work paid so handsomely!

A forensically-correct service list for the Palace Station tapes is posted below, and could be delivered at a fraction of the 2008 estimate, which Barnett prudently declined to provide.

  •  The FBI did analyze the recordings.

The agent who did the work testified that the results were “inconclusive,” but also said there may have been some “overtaping” on the recording device, according to a Las Vegas Sun report.  This is important! The device is evidence as much as the recordings are evidence.

Chain of custody questions… Duh!

by Ira Victor, G2700, GCFA, GPCI, GSEC, ISACA CGEIT CRISC. Ira Victor is a digital forensics and data security analyst.  He is a contributor to, The SANS Computer Forensics Blog, and CyberJungle Radio. He holds US patents in email security and authentication. He President of Sierra-Nevada InfraGard, and a member of The High Tech Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA). Follow Ira’s security and forensics tweets: @ira_victor

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