Interview with CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, one of three best-selling authors to headline JUF Trade Dinner season

Jeffrey Toobin weighs in on the high court, O.J. Simpson, and why facts still matter.

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Jeffrey Toobin, CNN analyst and best-selling author.

The Jewish United Fund's Trades, Industries, and Professions dinner season runs Monday, May 8, to Tuesday, June 6. Here are the sequence of speakers and dinners:

Monday, May 8 (Hilton Chicago): Medical Professionals and Educators Dinner  

Featuring: David E. Sanger, National Security Correspondent for The New York Times and best-selling author

Thursday, May 11 (Hyatt Regency Chicago): Lawyers & Government Officials, Foods & Hospitality and Wholesalers, Retailers & Manufactures Dinner

Featuring: Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Analyst and best-selling author

Tuesday, June 6: (Sheraton Grand Chicago): Financial Services, Real Estate & Building Trades and High Tech, Marketing & Media Dinner

Featuring: Michael Lewis, best-selling author of The Undoing Project, Flash Boys, The Big Short, and Moneyball

Thanks to the generous support of our corporate partners, there is no charge to attend the dinner. All guests are required to make a meaningful gift to the JUF 2017 Annual Campaign. For more information or to register, go to

What follows is an interview with one of the speakers--Jeffrey Toobin:  

Jeffrey Toobin weighs in on the high court, O.J. Simpson, and why facts still matter

You could say Jeffrey Toobin wrote the book on the O.J. Simpson murder case. Toobin's book, titled The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson , was adapted into the Emmy-award winning series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, that aired on FX last year.

Toobin, who is Jewish, is a CNN Senior Analyst, a judicial expert, a staff writer for The New Yorker , and a bestselling author. In advance of his visit to Chicago, Toobin sat down for a phone interview with JUF News .

JUF News: There has been a resurgence of interest in the O.J. Simpson murder case in recent years. Why is the case still resonating with the public 20-plus years later?  

Jeffrey Toobin: The way I viewed the case and the way I wrote my book is largely through the prism of race. What made the case more than just a tawdry celebrity murder was the fact that it illuminated a lot of racial tensions in society, and that was very much reflected in both the FX series and the film documentary. One reason why the story resonated so much last year was that it came in the immediate aftermath of Ferguson and "Black Lives Matter." We as a country [have been] confronting the fraught relationship between African-Americans and the police. The real reason O.J. got acquitted was because his defense effectively put the L.A.P.D. on trial for offenses they committed against others, not--in my opinion--against O.J. Simpson.

With Justice Neil Gorsuch now on the Supreme Court, how soon do you anticipate another justice will exit the bench?

We have three elderly justices--Justice Ginsburg: 84; Anthony Kennedy: 80; and Stephen Breyer: 78. I think that the two Democratic appointees, Ginsburg and Breyer, will be looking to hang on through this presidential term. The big question is what Kennedy will do. If he leaves, I think he'll leave a year from now, not this year. 

How do you think President Trump's precarious relationship with media will change the role of journalists?  

He has really emboldened journalists to be more direct in their statements. It has been the custom, especially at a place like CNN, that when a politician said something controversial, we would present two sides of the issue…Ultimately, facts matter more than anything anyone says: The economy either will or will not improve, healthcare will or will not be changed, we will or will not go to war. All of that is going to happen independently of journalism. Journalists will cover that, but we won't determine that. The success or failure of his presidency will be determined by facts, rather than by journalism--and that's appropriate. 

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