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The US, Britain and the rest of the NATO alliance are expected to sharpen their language on the challenge posed by China, keep up pressure on Russia and for the first time make tackling the impact on security of climate change a key task.

President Joe Biden will touch down in Brussels on Sunday evening ahead of a summit on Monday of all 30 alliance leaders, including Boris Johnson, at NATO‘s giant, glass headquarters on the outskirts of the Belgian capital.

It comes ahead of Mr Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with Russia‘s Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on Wednesday and follows a three-day summit of the G7 in Cornwall – all designed to display democratic unity to the Kremlin.

Russia’s president told NBC News in an interview ahead of his meeting with Mr Biden that relations between Moscow and Washington were at their “lowest point”.

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Putin: Russia-US relations at ‘lowest point’

Speaking ahead of the NATO summit, its chief, Jens Stoltenberg, said it was a “pivotal moment” for the alliance.

“We are in an age of global competition and we must respond to many threats and challenges at the same time,” he said in a press conference on Friday. “We will also address the security impact of climate change, for the first time, making this an important task for NATO.”

The atmosphere at the summit is set to differ from the previous two gatherings in 2017 and 2019, when then-president Donald Trump stole the show.

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He upturned what is usually a carefully choreographed and planned piece of diplomatic theatre, berating allies as “delinquent” for failing to pay their fair share of the bill towards collective defence and instead overly-relying on the US military.

Mr Trump even threatened to pull the US out of NATO – a move that would have dealt a hammer blow to what is regarded by its members as the cornerstone of their security.

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2019: Trump warns NATO members to pay bills

All eyes this time will be on Mr Biden.

In a return to the language normally expected from US leaders, he is expected to affirm his country’s “unwavering commitment” to the alliance and to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which requires all allies to come to the defence of any member state if attacked.

But allies remain under pressure, even without Mr Trump’s threats, to meet previous commitments to move towards spending at least 2% of national income on defence by 2024 – a pledge made at a NATO summit in Wales in 2014.

Failure to do so would send the wrong signal to the Biden administration and to NATO’s adversaries, a European source said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Donald Trump at a summit in December 2019
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Donald Trump with NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg and (below) the UK’s Boris Johnson at the 2019 summit
HERTFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson onstage during the annual NATO heads of government summit on December 4, 2019 in Watford, England.

The summit on Monday will be relatively short, taking place just in the afternoon.

In terms of concrete outcomes, allies are expected to sign up to a communique which looks set to include a toughening of language about the challenge posed by China, according to three European sources.

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China was mentioned for the first time in a NATO leaders’ communique after the previous summit, hosted by the UK, in 2019 – when it was described as a challenge and an opportunity.

Eighteen months later, this language will remain balanced but is expected to give more of a sense of how Beijing, with its growing military power, poses a challenge to the world’s democracies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Vice President Joe Biden raise their glasses in a toast during a luncheon at the State Department, in Washington, September 25, 2015. Xi's visit with President Barack Obama is expected to be clouded by differences over alleged Chinese cyber spying, Beijing's economic policies and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and then-vice president Joe Biden during a luncheon in Washington in 2015

The allies will still stress areas of co-operation, including climate change.

But there is concern particularly in the US about the threat posed by a rising China, with officials accusing the ruling Chinese Communist Party of human rights abuses and attempting to undermine international rules established since the Second World War.

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The Daily Climate Show G7 special

NATO allies will also finalise what is being called the NATO 2030 initiative – a plan to transform the alliance to meet emerging and future threats. It includes plans to better exploit emerging technologies, enhance cyber defences, and combat climate change.

The initiative was devised after Mr Trump and France‘s President Emmanuel Macron questioned the relevance of an alliance that was established at the start of the Cold War to tackle the then-Soviet Union.

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OJ Simpson murder trial: How the dramatic court case unfolded

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OJ Simpson murder trial: How the dramatic court case unfolded

Former American footballer and actor OJ Simpson, who has died of cancer, will be remembered most for his role at the centre of the “trial of the century”.

Accused of double murder, his case captured the attention of the US until it came to a dramatic end in late 1995.

Here’s a look back at how that trial unfolded.

12 June 1994

Simpson‘s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson was found dead in front of her home in Los Angeles with her friend Ronald Goldman, who was a waiter at a restaurant where she had just dined.

The pair had been stabbed to death outside her home in the neighbourhood of Brentwood.

Read more:
OJ Simpson has died at the age of 76, his family says

OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown
Pic:MediaPunch/AP
Image:
OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown. Pic:MediaPunch/AP

17 June 1994

After the bodies were found, suspicion quickly fell on Simpson, who had been married to Nicole for seven years until their divorce became final on 15 October 1992, little more than 18 months before her death.

Simpson had been ordered by prosecutors to surrender, but on this day, carrying a passport and a disguise, he instead fled, with friend and former team-mate Al Cowlings in a white Ford Bronco.

A white Ford Bronco, driven by Al Cowlings and carrying OJ Simpson, being trailed by Los Angeles police on 17 June , 1994. Pic: AP
Image:
OJ Simpson trailed by Los Angeles police on 17 June 1994. Pic: AP

The vehicle was soon spotted on a California freeway and pursued by police in a car chase that was televised live across the country and watched by an estimated 95 million viewers.

Cowlings, in a phone call to police, said Simpson was lying in the back seat of the car holding a gun to his own head. After eventually driving to his Brentwood home he was persuaded to surrender.

Sky News’ Steve Bennedik recalls how Simpson’s trial was covered

It was the first few weeks of 1995 when Sky News’ live coverage of the OJ Simpson court case got under way. Each evening we showed the trial and invited questions. In those days, the main form of correspondence was by letter.

But there was also a new electronic method emerging, called email. And the first of these had the simple, but deflating, sentence: “Which one is OJ?”

We asked ourselves: Is our audience ready to follow the story of a very American tragedy unfold on British TV? We decided to stick with it.

In contrast, OJ Simpson was a household name in the US. So much more than an ex-football star. But the shock of this icon being arrested for murder, the bizarre Bronco highway chase, the high-profile celebrity defence team, and ultimately the “did he do it?” question had universal attraction.

Although the case stuttered through until October, the weak Judge Lance Ito was obsequious to lawyers’ demands for delays, but the interest among Sky News viewers surged and remained undimmed.

As the court camera panned to the state of California seal, signalling another adjournment, we and no doubt the viewer sighed.

More behind-the-scenes legal wrangling, but we had an ace up our sleeve – Professor Gary Solis. Gary is a Vietnam veteran, former military judge advocate, with alma maters including George Washington University and the London School of Economics.

At the time, he was in London and ready to give up his evenings. He calmly steered our presenters, Laurie and Vivien, and our often puzzled viewers through the complexities of the Californian legal system and became a firm favourite with the newsroom and the public alike.

The court characters emerged. Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden for the prosecution, and the “Dream Team” defence – Jonnie Cochran, F Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Kardashian, whose children would go on to outshine his fame.

It was compelling court drama, but it was also the very tragic story of two young people who’d been savagely attacked and murdered, with their families devastated by the loss, and tormented by the lingering back and forth court battle.

The proceedings had lasted months, but the jury reached their verdict in just a few hours and when they returned to the courtroom to deliver it, an early evening audience in the UK was hanging on every moment. And then it was over. OJ was a free man.

The People of the State of California v Orenthal James Simpson faded as a memory, flickering back to life with the news of his death.

24 January 1995

The murder trial, dubbed the “trial of the century” by the media, began.

Prosecutors argued OJ Simpson had killed Nicole and Ron in a jealous rage, and they presented extensive blood, hair and fibre tests linking him to the murders.

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The defence countered that the celebrity defendant was framed by racist white police.

15 June 1995

Perhaps the defining moment of the trial came on a Thursday in June, when the prosecution committed what a defence lawyer would later describe as the “greatest legal blunder of the 20th century”.

OJ Simpson grasps a marker while wearing the leather gloves prosecutors say he wore the night his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
OJ Simpson grasps a marker while wearing the leather gloves prosecutors say he wore on the night of the murder. Pic: Reuters

On this day, a prosecutor asked him to put on a pair of gloves believed to have been worn by the killer.

The gloves appeared to be too small, as OJ Simpson struggled to put on the gloves in a highly theatrical demonstration and indicated to the jury they did not fit.

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This led defence lawyer Johnnie Cochran to famously state in his closing argument: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

3 October 1995

The trial came to an end with two words – not guilty.

Read more:
OJ Simpson a ‘completely free man’ after being released from parole

OJ Simpson, who maintained from the outset he was “absolutely 100% not guilty”, waved at the jurors and mouthed the words “thank you”.

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OJ Simpson dies – the story of his complex legacy

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OJ Simpson dies - the story of his complex legacy

The death of arguably one of America’s most-talked about names in the 1990s has re-ignited conversations about who OJ Simpson was and how he will be remembered.

The former NFL star was tried and acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He later spent time in jail for armed robbery and kidnap.

On the Daily, Niall Paterson talks to our US correspondent James Matthews as they discuss his life and the controversies surrounding the 76-year-old, who died on Wednesday following his battle with cancer.

👉 Listen above then tap here to follow the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts 👈

Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse, Rosie Gillott, Soila Apparicio
Senior producer: Annie Joyce
Editors: Paul Stanworth, Wendy Parker

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OJ Simpson death: Lawyers for families of victims still believe he was ‘a murderer’

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OJ Simpson death: Lawyers for families of victims still believe he was 'a murderer'

Lawyers for the families of OJ Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman have told Sky News they still believe he was “a murderer”.

The former NFL star and Hollywood actor died aged 76 of cancer on Wednesday.

Nicknamed “The Juice”, Simpson was tried for their double murder in 1995, in what was dubbed the “trial of the century”.

OJ Simpson is shown in his official Los Angeles Police Department booking photo following his arrest for two murders
Pic: Reuters
Image:
LA police department booking photo of OJ Simpson following his arrest for two murders. Pic: Reuters

He was found not guilty of murdering Ms Brown and Mr Goldman, but was later found liable for the deaths in a civil lawsuit.

It is claimed Simpson still owed $114m (£91m) to Mr Goldman’s family, and that they are considering how to claim it back over assets.

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How OJ Simpson’s trial unfolded

Speaking to Sky News, the Goldman family’s lawyer David Cook said: “I review and consider Simpson as what he was: that he was a bad person; he was a murderer; he got out of the acquittal here.

“He remains now and in his death as the day that he committed the crime in whatever the amount of years ago.

“He’s still the same person. And the fact that he died doesn’t change it.”

Nicole Brown Simpson is seen in this photograph that was shown to the jurors in the OJ Simpson trial February 6. Nicole's sister Denise-Brown testified that she took these picture to document injuries at the hands OJ Simpson.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Nicole Brown seen in a photograph – shown to jurors in the trial – documenting injuries allegedly from OJ Simpson. Pic: Reuters

Gloria Allred, the lawyer for Ms Brown’s family, also told Sky News that “he killed her” and pointed to Simpson pleading no contest to spousal abuse in 1989.

“What happened five years before he killed Nicole? He gave her that black eye, she ran out of the house,” the lawyer said. “She was terrified. She hid in the bushes. The police came.

“He was arrested, charged with spousal battery and what were the consequences of that case? He admitted it.

OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson in 1993.
Pic: AP
Image:
OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson
Pic: AP

“In other words, he pled no contest to a spousal battery, but he never was sent to jail. In fact, it’s really questionable as to whether he did anything that the judge required him to do, even out of jail, community service, for example.”

Ronald Goldman
Image:
Ronald Goldman was stabbed to death at Nicole Brown Simpson’s Los Angeles home on 12 June 1994. Pic: Reuters

Ms Allred added that “it’s only going to get worse for the victim” if no action is taken against perpetrators of domestic violence and said: “That’s what happened. He killed her.”

‘No great loss’

Mr Goldman’s father Fred Goldman told Sky News’ partner network NBC News earlier on Thursday that Simpson’s death was “no great loss”.

“The only thing I have to say is it’s just a further reminder of Ron being gone all these years,” he said.

“It’s no great loss to the world. It’s a further reminder of Ron being gone.”

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In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Keith Zlomsowitch, Ms Brown’s ex-boyfriend who served as a pallbearer at her funeral, said Simpson’s death was a “relief”.

Read more:
OJ Simpson: The case that gripped the US

How the dramatic Simpson court case unfolded

He said: “I think finally some sort of justice has been served, that he’s been taken from the earth.

“So it doesn’t bring Nicole back. But it means he can no longer be who he is in this world.”

‘Good riddance’

Simpson’s team of lawyers also included his friend Robert Kardashian, the late husband of reality TV star Kris Jenner.

Caitlyn Jenner, who was previously married to Ms Jenner, tweeted just two words in response to the news of Simpson’s death: “Good Riddance.”

The former Olympian and media personality wrote in her autobiography The Secrets Of My Life that Simpson “was the most narcissistic, egocentric, neediest asshole in the world of sports I had ever seen, and I had seen a lot of them”.

Simpson was acquitted after the 1995 criminal trial watched by millions worldwide, where Simpson famously tried on a pair of blood-stained gloves allegedly found at the scene of the crime.

The gloves appeared to be too small, leading defence attorney Johnnie Cochran to say: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Alan Dershowitz, another of Simpson’s former lawyers, told Sky News earlier that the defence was “a nightmare team” and that he did not want the former sports star to take the stand.

“Ultimately it was the glove” that made Simpson refuse to take the stand at his trial, Mr Dershowitz said.

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“When he was able to go in front of the jury and show them that the glove didn’t fit, that led him to conclude, and he made the decision, not to take the stand.

“In the civil case, he took the stand and was immediately found liable.”

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