Wednesday’s funeral for Johnnie Cochran attracted a celebrated assemblage that included Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Stevie Wonder, Angela Bassett, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Magic Johnson – who said of the outspoken attorney: “We’ve known him for representing O.J. and Michael, but he was bigger and better than that. He represented people you’ve never heard of.”
Cochran, 67, died March 29 of an inoperable brain tumor at his home in Los Angeles.
As the Rev. Calvin Butts told the packed West Angeles Cathedral, according to the Associated Press: “Our brother Johnnie Cochran deserves a standing ovation from everybody in this house.”
The range of attendees at the service reflected Cochran’s work in civil rights cases as well as his glamorous trials. Among the mourners from the legal community were Thomas Mesereau Jr., Gloria Allred and two members of the O.J. Simpson defense “dream team,” Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck.
Simpson told reporters outside the church: “Johnnie fought for his clients.”
Lesser known than Simpson, but still a high-profile onetime client, was another mourner, Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was successfully represented by Cochran in a suit against the New York Police Department, which had brutalized Louima.
Said Louima of Cochran: “He was my lawyer and my friend.”