Remember the ill-fated OJ Simpson project If I Did It? The former NFL star turned murder suspect turned armed robber attempted to pass off as fiction a thinly veiled recap of the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in a book by that title. Outrage over Simpson’s attempt to exploit the murders for financial gain killed the project, as well as questions about whether Simpson was actually confessing to the murders after insisting all along on his innocence.
Over eleven years later, Fox News plans to unveil an interview with Simpson from November 2006 intended to promote the book, TMZ reports, and it may become clear why the book and the PR campaign got canceled. According to their sources, Simpson got confused about the pretense of using the third person and ended up offering something very close to an on-camera confession. And, Simpson allegedly says during the interview, he wasn’t alone, either:
Sources familiar with the program tell us, Simpson talked in the third person as he described how the murders might have been committed, but at some point in the interview he lapsed into first person. We’re told it sounded like a first-person account of the murders and, although it’s not a clear confession, it’s in that arena.
We’re told Simpson flat-out talks about an accomplice who was with him at Nicole’s home. He did not name the accomplice.
Simpson’s scenario goes like this … he went to her house the evening of June 12, 1994, to “scare the s*** out of her.” He took the Bronco to her home with his friend, brought a knife and put a hat and gloves on for dramatic effect.
Simpson then says he looked in Nicole’s window … saw burning candles and believed she was expecting a man to show up. Just then Ron, a waiter from the restaurant where she had just dined, appeared with a pair of sunglasses Nicole’s mom had forgotten at the restaurant. Simpson started screaming in rage, Nicole came running out … and at that point he says he “blacked out” and came to covered in blood.
It’s not the first time that a theory about an accomplice has been raised. Almost exactly a year ago, an eyewitness came forward more than twenty years after the murder to claim he’d seen Simpson enter through the back gate, with someone in the passenger seat of his car waiting for him to return:
A private investigator claims he saw the former American Football star pull up behind Nicole’s home in Los Angeles in his infamous white Ford Bronco jeep on the night she was murdered.
There were also allegedly two sets of bloody footprints at the crime scene, Ron Goldman’s blood was found on both the driver’s and passenger side of Simpson’s car, and a second car that may have belonged to an accomplice was spotted at Simpson’s home at the time of the attack.
Michael Martin says he was carrying out surveillance on a neighbouring house when he saw Simpson get out of his car, put on a pair of gloves, and enter Nicole’s home through the back gate. …
He said: “I used a pair of binoculars to watch the passenger in the vehicle. He jumped from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat and continually looked back over his shoulder towards the gate.
“Ten minutes later OJ came out wearing dark shorts and carrying what appeared to be a bundle of clothes. He opened the passenger side door, got in, and they drove off together in the vehicle.”
Well, gee, that might have been nice to know in 1994-5. Why didn’t Martin come forward? He claimed that he was worried people might have thought he was part of the murder plot, which makes no sense at all. Martin also said that he worried his career as a private investigator might have been destroyed by the publicity, which could be true, but he would have had lots of opportunities to make it in the media biz. Martin wouldn’t have been the first person to parlay the OJ trial hype into a new career, after all.
If Simpson’s interview plays out as TMZ reports, then it explains how Ron Goldman’s blood got on the passenger side of Simpson’s car. What it doesn’t explain is who the accomplice would have been. That’s a mystery that might last a very long time because the accomplice — if he exists at all — would be the only person who could still get tried for murder. Simpson’s off the hook thanks to the double-jeopardy doctrine in American law, although Fred Goldman owns basically anything Simpson produces from this point forward. Even 24 years later, the Los Angeles DA would loooooove to nail someone for this murder. Unless it comes as a deathbed confession, it’s highly unlikely that an accomplice would identify himself.
Of course, Simpson could reveal it. That would undermine the whole OJ-was-innocent industry that’s been built around the failure to get a conviction in 1995, but that might also be true of this interview after it airs on March 11th.
Addendum: The book actually did come out in August 2007, but only after Fred Goldman seized the rights to it. The book got retitled If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer. The word “if” was made very, very small on the book cover.