As you may be aware, OJ Simpson’s book, titled If I Did It, describes how – if in fact he were guilty – he would have murdered his ex-wife (Nicole Brown Simpson) and her friend (Ronald Goldman). Admittedly, it’s an extremely strange idea for a book, but was also sure to be a bestseller.
However, publication of the book was cancelled due to public outrage (although I’d be willing to bet that many of those people would have secretly purchased it), and all copies of the book were destroyed by the publisher. Later, rights to the manuscript were awarded by a bankruptcy court to the Goldman family, as the result of a longstanding $33 million wrongful death civil judgment they won against OJ Simpson.
The original publisher, Judith Regan, called the book “a confession”. His attorneys denied that it was a confession.
Not surprisingly, a news organization received a leaked copy of the manuscript. Newsweek published an article in January about what was in the manuscript, and the writer stated that, in his opinion, it was a confession. However, they did not print any excerpts, so the reader was left wondering how accurate their characterization of a confession really was.
Today the manuscript was leaked again, to celebrity gossip site TMZ, and they published excerpts. I have posted those excerpts here so LFV readers can decide for themselves whether this is, in fact, a confession to the most notorious murder case of our time.
It begins with the following passage:
I’m going to tell you a story you’ve never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it. It takes place on the night June 12, 1994, and it concerns the murder of my ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her young friend, Ronald Goldman. I want you to forget everything you think you know about that night because I know the facts better than anyone. I know the players. I’ve seen the evidence. I’ve heard the theories. And, of course, I’ve read all the stories: That I did it. That I did it but I don’t know I did it. That I can no longer tell fact from fiction. That I wake up in the middle of the night, consumed by guilt, screaming.
OJ describes the murder scene:
I looked over at Goldman, and I was fuming. I guess he thought I was going to hit him, because he got into his little karate stance. “What the fuck is that?” I said. “You think you can take me with your karate shit?” He started circling me, bobbing and weaving, and if I hadn’t been so fucking angry I would have laughed in his face. “O.J., come on!” It was Charlie again, pleading. Nicole moaned, regaining consciousness. She stirred on the ground and opened her eyes and looked at me, but it didn’t seem like anything was registering. Charlie walked over and planted himself in front of me blocking my view. “We are fucking done here, man-let’s go!”
I noticed the knife in Charlie’s hand, and in one deft move I removed my right glove and snatched it up. “We’re not going anywhere,” I said, turning to face Goldman. Goldman was still circling me, bobbing and weaving, but I didn’t feel like laughing anymore. “You think you’re tough, motherfucker?” I said. I could hear Charlie just behind me, saying something, urging me to get the fuck out of there, and at one point he even reached for me and tried to drag me away, but I shook him off, hard, and moved toward Goldman. “Okay, motherfucker!” I said. “Show me how tough you are!”
Then something went horribly wrong, and I know what happened, but I can’t tell you exactly how. I was still standing in Nicole’s courtyard, of course, but for a few moments I couldn’t remember how I’d gotten there, when I’d arrived, or even why I was there. Then it came back to me, very slowly: The recital-with little Sydney up on stage, dancing her little heart out; me, chipping balls into my neighbor’s yard; Paula, angry, not answering her phone; Charlie, stopping by the house to tell me some more ugly shit about Nicole’s behavior. Then what? The short, quick drive from Rockingham to the Bundy condo. And now?
Now I was standing in Nicole’s courtyard, in the dark, listening to the loud, rhythmic, accelerated beating of my own heart. I put my left hand to my heart and my shirt felt strangely wet. I looked down at myself. For several moments, I couldn’t get my mind around what I was seeing. The whole front of me was covered in blood, but it didn’t compute. Is this really blood? I wondered. And whose blood is it? Is it mine? Am I hurt?
Of course, OJ Simpson was found not guilty by a jury, so he can never again be charged with those murders due to the protections provided by the Fifth Amendment; this is true even if he made a full and complete confession in a court of law. He doesn’t seem to trust the double jeopardy clause, though, because he’s extremely careful not to say that he actually did anything that could result in the deaths of those two people, even in what is described as a hypothetical account of the murders. He attributed this to protecting his children, whose mother had been savagely murdered. However, if that is the case, why would he write the book at all?
I really don’t know if OJ killed anyone. The truth is, our justice system is imperfect, especially when dealing with murder. People have been proven innocent after spending years on death row; undoubtedly, innocent people have been executed. On the other hand, people are sometimes also acquitted of murder, even when they are factually guilty. Did OJ Simpson get away with murder? It’s altogether possible. It’s also altogether possible that he was an innocent man accused, and was one of the lucky ones who managed to convince a jury that the accusation was untrue.
Of course, if OJ did commit the crime, and if this is indeed a confession, prosecutors are undoubtedly interested in prosecuting the mysterious accomplice. After all, no one else has ever been charged with the murders, an accomplice would not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, and there is no statute of limitation on murder.
Chances are, however, that even if there was an accomplice, prosecutors will never be able to prove that person’s involvement. After all, their theory of the crime was that OJ acted alone, so if this is a confession, they’ll have to reexamine all the evidence, which may prove to be an impossibility due to loss and degradation of physical evidence.
The truth is, no one will ever know for a fact whether OJ is guilty or innocent of murder, except OJ himself (and possibly an accomplice). Nevertheless, I have to admit that this manuscript sure is curious. Frankly, I can’t imagine that an innocent man would write such a book, especially after having been tried and found innocent, but his life and reputation ruined forever. However, a guilty man might recount his crimes in that manner, in order to clear his conscience; but still be unable to admit the specific details of the murder itself, because then he would be forced to face exactly what he had done.
So, you tell me. Is this just a hypothetical scenario, or did OJ Simpson literally get away with murder?
UPDATE: TMZ is getting sued over publishing the excerpts. Apparently the bankruptcy trustee who is selling it on behalf of the Goldman family thinks those excerpts will be widely distributed around the internet. Ya think? LOL Anyway, it looks to me like a case of fair use since they didn’t reproduce anywhere near the entire book.