Making Sense of Simpson - 1995-03-13
CALL THEM THE O.J. ALL-STAR TALK TEAM—THE CAcophony of cops and lawyers, Marcia Clark fashion critics and DNA experts who provide nonstop commentary on every sneeze. In the midst of this media madness, CNN's Greta Van Susteren, a 40-year-old Washington attorney and an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University, stays true to her own winning gimmick: she talks straight and lets the facts fall where they may.
Van Susteren will not, for example, use a word like "sequestration." Instead, she says, "I talk about cooping people up in hotels." And we are not, as she says, watching the Trial of the Century but "a run-of-the-mill murder case—with a defendant whose name we recognize." Her husband (and law partner), John Coale, 48, says that, "with Greta, what you see is what you get. People genuinely like her."
With CNN's ratings skyrocketing (an estimated 15 million viewers tune in daily to its trial coverage), Van Susteren's bosses certainly are pleased. "Greta is a wonderful teacher," says CNN senior vice president Gail Evans, who chose Van Susteren to do analysis for the 1991 William Kennedy Smith rape trial. Evans compiled a list of top women lawyers, called Van Susteren and never called the rest. "I said, 'This is what we're looking for.' People may have a love-hate relationship with lawyers, but they want to understand the law themselves. Greta is candid. She isn't afraid to say what she thinks."