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Burden of Proof
O.J. Simpson Discusses New Web SiteAired July 27, 2000 - 12:30 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CO-HOST: The criminal trial of O.J. Simpson ended with an acquittal. But a civil jury held the former NFL star responsible for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Now, O.J. Simpson is going interactive. He's prepared to answer your questions on his new Web site, askoj.com. But first, he answering our questions. O.J. Simpson joins us today on CNN's BURDEN OF PROOF.
ANNOUNCER: This is BURDEN OF PROOF with Greta Van Susteren and Roger Cossack.
VAN SUSTEREN: Hello and welcome to BURDEN OF PROOF. Roger is off today.
It's been nearly five years since he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. Now O.J. Simpson is taking his case to the Internet. The Internet site was created as a public forum for Simpson to answer questions from Web surfers worldwide.
Simpson's page is promoting a, quote, "live event," charging a fee for users to obtain a seat for the event. The site also sells sports memorabilia, including a signed football, replica jerseys, and helmets.
O.J. Simpson joins us today from Tampa, Florida. And also joining us from Tampa is David Marshlack, of Entertainment Network Incorporated, the company behind Simpson's new venture. Here in Washington: Jennika Arkell (ph), attorney Chris Gordon, and Kendra Redmon (Ph). In our back row: Katherine Wehmeyer (ph), David Stern (ph), and Michael Rosenthal (Ph).
O.J., let me go first to you, I'm sure you've thought about this. What do you think is the worst question you can be asked on this Web site?
O.J. SIMPSON: To be honest, I haven't thought about it. I mean, the worst question that has ever been asked me is if I committed murder? And obviously the answer is no. So, consequently, after that, everything else doesn't really matter to me.
VAN SUSTEREN: O.J., let me tell what I think are the two toughest questions, let me go right to the two, I think, toughest questions if I were in your seat today. The first has to do with the fact that at the murder scene, there were bloody footprint, the FBI went out, they checked them, they worldwide looking, trying to figure out what kind of shoe it was. They went to your closet, after they determined it was Bruno Magli. You had no Bruno Magli shoes in your closet. You went to criminal trial, you were found not guilty.
You went to a civil deposition, you were asked specifically, you said I wouldn't wear those ugly ass shoes, or something like that. Then the photographs surface, and you wearing shoes that the plaintiff and the jury believe were Bruno Magli shoes. How do you answer that photograph?
SIMPSON: Well, first of all, a lot of that I will get deeper into the night on the Internet, but obviously I thought we proved beyond a doubt that those things -- at least my doubt, that those things were phony. We brought probably the only guy that has ever scored 100 percent, certainly when the House of Representatives tested a number of photographers when they were looking into the Warren Report, this was the only person involved that scored 100 percent, and I thought he showed the jury conclusively on 13, 14 different points why they were phony pictures.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it is your view that they wee doctored? the photos are doctored? is that your position?
SIMPSON: Well, not only that they are doctored. I think I will have a lot more proof about it. And when you log on tonight about the other shoes in my closet, and which, coincidentally 25, 26 pair of dress shoes every single one of them had a receipt because I bought all my clothes through credit cards because I wrote them off because of being in the entertainment business except those shoes. The FBI looked everywhere, there was no receipt for those shoes, unless you are going to go so far as to think that I, at some previous date, felt that I was going to murder somebody that I better not use my credit card to buy this one pair of shoes. It's the only pair of shoes that there's no receipt for in my past records. There is other stuff I will talk more about those shoes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Your view is that those photographs, the 30-some photographs that were presented at the civil case showing you wearing Bruno Magli shoes were doctored?
SIMPSON: Yes, but they were on one reel of tape. That reel of tape, as you know, was sold to the "National Enquirer" and it was sent to Europe where they had this process, much like the process you may see on "Redbook," where you see Michelle Pfeiffer, who picked up the magazine, and was surprised to see that, in her mind, that those weren't her lips, and they weren't her lips. So it is easy to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me tell you the other tough question is. I remember from the criminal trial that there was testimony that you called Kato Kaelin from the limousine and you asked him, you told him how to set the alarm on your house. Kato Kaelin testified that he followed your instructions, he set the alarm.
Then the testimony jumps to the next day in which your daughter and two police officers enter the house, and there was never any testimony that they turned the alarm off to enter the house, which, of course, leads to the suggestion somebody was in that house. How do you answer that?
SIMPSON: Well, first of all, that is inaccurate what you said. Arnelle testified that she brought the police -- and this was real strange, that is why the police would lie about this, there was no reason for her to lie about it, because there was no way to turn the alarm off in the back of the house, so Arnelle walked them around to the front of the house, and let them in.
What really -- when they said -- I don't know why they would say that she would come through the back door, because it didn't seem to have any importance.
You know, there was a police officer named Gonzalez on the scene, and his notes, that day that he turned in, that morning that he was standing in the front driveway, when Arnelle brought the detectives around the side of the house to let them in the front door, those were in his notes that were written right then and there.
And, for some reason, later on, they tried to imply that they came through the back door by saying that Fuhrman and Kato came through the back door. Well, the point is, they may have because once Arnelle let them in, and you know started making some calls, she went out the back door, she wouldn't come out the front door to walk around the house again. And then the door was unlocked. Of course, Fuhrman was in the back with Kato at that point in time.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's your position, or your information, Arnelle disarmed the alarm?
SIMPSON: Well, once again, Arnelle has said, there is no reason to lie about it. As well as Officer Gonzalez -- the notes that he wrote right there, watching them come around. He got off duty an hour or so later, and in his notes, writes in his notes, that Arnelle, I guess they told Arnelle what had happened, as she was coming around the side of the house and let them in the front because you had to walk around the house, and he said, as she was coming around the house, to let them in. She broke down because, evidently, that's when they told her what went on. That's gotten confused by the media since that time obviously.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me go to Dave.
Dave, how did this idea for this Internet Web site or chat come up with you and O.J. Simpson?
DAVID MARSHLACK, ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK INC.: Basically, we were watching TV and saw the commotion that was going on, and he was talking about doing this lie detector test and possibly on the Internet. And we made arrangements to get a hold of him and fly and meet him, and just talk to him about it, and tell him that we wanted to put him on the Internet where he could talk directly to the public in an unedited, uncut way, and people could ask the questions that we could never get answered. We only get the questions asked that the media wants to ask.
So he was a little reluctant at first, but then we flew back to Tampa, and showed him our operation. I think that he was pretty happy with what he saw, and saw that we could handle such a large event, and we ended up convincing him to do this with us.
VAN SUSTEREN: O.J., do you have any sort of concern or attention that you are going to write something in an Internet chat which is inconsistent with your civil testimony. You testified under oath at that trial, and that would lead to a perjury charge. Does that concern you?
SIMPSON: You know, it has never concerned me. There is no perjury to the truth. I was -- they had a deposition of me that lasted 12 days, I believe, I mean 12 long days. I recall. before I took the stand, my lawyers kept telling me, O.J. read that deposition, read that deposition. You want to be consistent.
Well, I wouldn't read it. I said I'm not going to read this deposition. I have nothing to change. I can only tell them what I recall of the incident. I'm not worried about making a mistake because I'm only going to tell them the truth.
I never read one page of 12 days of deposition, and not once in the -- what, 8, 9, 10 days they had me on the stand did they pull out a deposition and say look, this is inconsistent.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we're going to take a break. Up next, when O.J. Simpson was acquitted, he promised to search for what he called "the real killer." Plus, Simpson is still responsible for using any income he generates to satisfy a civil judgment against him. So where is all the Web site money going? Stay with us.
(BEGIN LEGAL BRIEF)
Mississippi state investigators have ruled the hanging death of Raynard Johnson a suicide, saying there is no evidence of foul play.
Civil rights activists have maintained that the death was a racial killing and have questioned the ability of authorities to investigate fairly.
(END LEGAL BRIEF)
VAN SUSTEREN: Good news for our Internet-savvy viewers: You can now watch BURDEN OF PROOF live on the World Wide Web. Just log-on to CNN.com/Burden. We now provide a live video feed, Monday through Friday, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.
If you miss that live show, the program is available on the site at any time via video on demand. You can also interact with our show and even join our chat room.
During his criminal trial, O.J. Simpson recorded an audio cassette titled, "Ask O.J.," in which he discussed his love for Nicole Brown and a defense of the charges against him. Now he's using the same moniker to present his case over the Internet. O.J., let me just be blunt. What's the point? No one is going to change his or her mind about you. Why do you do this?
SIMPSON: Well, you know, for five years, you know, I've avoided the media like the plague, they chase me on the golf courses, and strangely enough they will stick a mike in my face, and if I make a comment going to the car, I'm seeing Fred Goldman...
VAN SUSTEREN: What's the point?
SIMPSON: The point is to correct some misconceptions about, not only my trial, but what's going on in my life today. Every week I'm reading some far out thing about what I'm doing and where I've been, and it's just not true.
VAN SUSTEREN: Chris, you are a journalist, you have been a legal analyst, you have got a Web site. I mean, what do you think of this concept of someone who has gone through a trial, going to the Internet?
CHRIS GORDON, ATTORNEY: Clearly, Mr. Simpson has waited for five years to go public and speak.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sort of, I mean, he's been on television, he has even been on BURDEN OF PROOF.
GORDON: This is a good forum, but why are they charging a fee for it. The Web is supposed to be free. This is the kind of thing that Napster, perhaps, should be distributing for free.
VAN SUSTEREN: But do you have any problem with someone making money on the Web?
SIMPSON: I have a problem with O.J. Simpson making money, if he's not going to pay it to the Goldman and Brown families.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dave, what is the financial arrangement in connection with this Web site, who is going to make the money?
MARSHLACK: Definitely, we are, and we hope that it is successful, and the charities involved will make money off it also.
SIMPSON: The charity is not involved.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does O.J. Simpson, Dave, make money on this?
MARSHLACK: Not a dime.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you this because I tell you something that so of piqued my interest, the fact that O.J. Simpson is doing it in Florida, you are a Florida company, and correct me if I'm wrong, but Florida is actually sort of a protected jurisdiction from a civil judgment in this instance; is that right or wrong?
MARSHLACK: That is correct from what I've heard. Again, I am not a lawyer and I don't know. But I find it funny that people say that you know why aren't we doing this for nothing, and the reason is, this is a very, very expensive production, and you know sponsorship we didn't get. There has to be some kind of a recoup of this money that we are putting out, and it's a major production from security in the building, all the way down to the bandwidth this is going to use. You know, every other event that I've watched something this size of, they have failed, they weren't geared up for this.
VAN SUSTEREN: O.J., are you making any money on this?
SIMPSON: I tell you, absolutely not. As a matter of fact...
VAN SUSTEREN: Explain to me...
SIMPSON: As a matter of fact, the only reason I got involved in the first place, even though eventually I wanted to go on the Web for free and talk to the public, because that I can't get that spin, is because a member of a charity came to me with the idea of me doing an interview, with a couple of these tabloid journalist shows, and those shows are going to make a donation to their charity.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can't you just -- can't you just go into one of these chat rooms...
SIMPSON: I would rather not it that way. I got them together and this is what they came up with.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can't you just going into one of these chatrooms...
SIMPSON: I can do whatever I choose to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... I mean, without going through an organization. I mean, I am not to fault Dave, but I mean, the whole issue of money, couldn't you go to a chat room and have thus chat that you want to have?
SIMPSON: Well, more than likely I will in the future. But once again, this initiative with a charity, I told the charity to get with a Web site, and it wasn't these guys, they got with someone else, these guys came in because they seemed to have more experience. They put it together and asked me if it was OK, and I said fine. I will be there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me jump because I know we don't have much time, obviously, always a lot to talk about on this topic that is all over the news for the last five years. O.J., what is your current fight with the Browns over the phone records?
SIMPSON: To be honest, that wasn't my fight to begin with. A group of guys came to me and they thought something was funny about the phone records, and they told me they were going to go get them, and they tried to go get them and couldn't.
Then they came to me one day, over a year ago, and said: Hey, you know, we can get the records out of Texas. They want to make sure you want them. Will you sign a paper to ask them to release them? And I did. And they still didn't get it.
From that point, I've just been an observer as these guys have worked to try to get these phone records. I do find it curious that, of all of the evidence in the case, the official phone records are the only ones that is missing from that group of evidence at that lab.
And what I -- Greta, what I don't understand, and Lou Brown and I have talked about this. We try not to get into any fights with each other. We let the other people fight so that we can stay neutral so that we can do the best for these kid. So you don't see me on TV talking about these phone records, other than the fact it is curious that is there is nothing wrong with the phone records, they should have been released, and this would not have been an issue, and still shouldn't be an issue. I don't care if they get them or not for that matter.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you are not talking about it on TV, but you have talked to the AP reporter Linda Deutch about them. And here is what I understand to be the dispute is that on June 12th, the night Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered, is that there is some question in your mind as to when the last time Juditha Brown, the mother of Nicole, spoke to her daughter. Is that right?
SIMPSON: To be honest, the question in my mind -- the question only came up in my mind after I realized that these records were missing and how difficult it seemed to be for this group of guys to get them. Before that, I never thought about it that much. In the case, I accepted what they said in court. The only reason I'm curious at this point is because of the difficulty, it would seem pretty simple. Show the records, it's over, let's all go on and do something else.
VAN SUSTEREN: According to the interview of you, is that the Browns are willing to surrender the telephone records of Nicole Brown Simpson provided you put up a million dollars and, in the event that the records don't support you, that Juditha had a call to her daughter around 11:00, that you would then surrender the million dollars to the Browns. Is that correct or incorrect?
SIMPSON: I understand Gloria Allred had put that out. But the lawyer sitting there in your panel there, I am sure he will tell you that if the Browns attempted to divert any money of mine that is extra to anything other than to satisfy the judgment against me for the Brown -- for Sidney and Justin that they would be liable. That is a libelous act. Their job is to try to collect money for that judgment against me. And any way to divert any other extra money of mine anywhere else would be libelous. I figure that was just a ploy for Gloria Allred to feed her media addiction.
VAN SUSTEREN: So your position is that those phone records wouldn't exonerate you; is that correct?
SIMPSON: I don't know. If you want to ask me if I'm curious, of course I'm curious. I don't think anybody on your panel wouldn't be curious that, if there is nothing wrong with these records, why has it been four or five different court -- has it taken four or five different court actions to try to get them, and they still don't have them.
If they don't get them, I don't care. I'm not spending any energy of mine trying to get these phone records. I have too much other things on my plate -- too many, I should say.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we are going to take a break. Up next, we'll continue our discussion with O.J. Simpson and his new Web site. Stay with us.
Q: How many days did O.J. Simpson spend in jail awaiting and during his trial?
VAN SUSTEREN: O.J. Simpson says he'll answer questions from the public on a new Web site. His new Web site sells seats to Simpson Interactive Chats and sells memorabilia.
Dave, O.J. Simpson today, who is next for your Web site?
MARSHLACK: I think our media plans, the first one will probably be to invite Mr. Fuhrman to come on and debate Mr. Simpson. You know, we're still talking to O.J. about doing that. And then we have some other people. I mean, there was the John Rockers out there, the nanny from England out there, the Tonya Hardings. I mean, there's a lot of people that we would like to have on our show.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you hooked anybody? I mean, those are sort of intriguing names you've tossed out. Has anybody shown any interest? Has Mark Fuhrman shown any interest to come and debate O.J. Simpson for instance?
MARSHLACK: Yes, Mark Fuhrman has already actually offered to do it on TV. And we're going to invite him to do it on our forum where it won't be edited and it won't be handled the media. We'll handle it and it'll be done one-on-one directly with him.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but he has not yet agreed, is that right?
MARSHLACK: He has not yet agreed.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Chris, what do you think of, sort of, bypassing journalists? where's the -- do you think this is going to be a successful new way?
GORDON: It depends how candid he is. As a lawyer and a journalist I read O.J. Simpson's depositions. He said he never knew Ron Goldman. So my question to him is: putting aside the fact that his father Fred has dogged you as the murderer, if you are not the killer, why have you never, or will you not now express sympathy for the loss of Ron Goldman's life or appreciation for the fact that he died defending your ex-wife?
SIMPSON: Well, first of all, you jumped to a big conclusion that he died defending my ex-wife.
GORDON: That's the prosecution's theory.
SIMPSON: No, that's the theory, you're only talking a theory here. Ron had quite a history which we'll talk about a little bit tonight.
GORDON: You said you didn't know him.
SIMPSON: I didn't, I know him now. It's been five years, sir, I was in jail 475 days. I had so many investigators investigating me and my background.
GORDON: So if there's a real killer out there, aren't you sympathetic to the fact that he lost his life? just like your ex-wife?
SIMPSON: Well, you know, obviously, you are prejudiced, if you would have listened from day one, from the five years I've been out of jail, Greta will tell you, I always went on TV: I will not respond to the baiting of Fred Goldman. Because I constantly said the man lost his son in a horrible way. So I take with a grain of salt anything he has ever said about me. That's why I never responded to him until now.
So don't act like I've never shown sympathy, just because you're ignorant of the fact that every time I've been on TV for five years, including BURDEN OF PROOF, I've stated: Hey, I don't want to challenge Fred Goldman because his son was brutally murdered. And I happened to take that into consideration. So, know what you are talking about before you start making comments on the show.
VAN SUSTEREN: O.J., we have such little time. What specific leads do you have that would point in the direction of anyone? do you have any leads?
SIMPSON: Well, you know, for a while there, we got a lot of different things.
VAN SUSTEREN: Like what, though?
SIMPSON: And some of them I can't tell you right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you can tell me, I mean, this has been five years.
SIMPSON: Because some of my guys are still looking at him, you know how it is. VAN SUSTEREN: But give me, just give me an idea of a specific one. Because, you know, a lot of people have been, you know, -- there's a lot of information out there and maybe you could...
SIMPSON: Well, you know, a lot has to do with the other murders of the other people from Mezzaluna. The simple fact that Ron Goldman took Brett Kantor's (ph) place in promoting these dances at this particular club, Brett Kantor had his throat cut.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is anything new?
SIMPSON: Less than a year before Ron had his -- he was attacked the same way he did. I mean, I don't know, I think the one way we are going to get to the truth of this is they have got to find out why Faye Resnick and these people lied to the police right away, in the first two weeks of this case.
The police went out to try to verify the many things that she told them and found out that she lied on numerous, numerous -- just about everything she said was a lie. And the police never asked them why. They never asked: Where did these drugs come from that you guys were using that week?
Don't you find it curious that Nicole's close friends, who didn't do drugs, came to me the weeks before her death, and begged me in tears to get her and the kids out of L.A. Please, O.J., something bad is going to happen. Get her out of L.A. I mean, I don't understand why the police didn't try to follow up on that type of stuff, you know? They weren't afraid of me, they were afraid of this group that Nicole was running around. And it wasn't me saying these things, these were her closest friends and you know this, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks to our guests and thank you for watching. Today on "TALKBACK LIVE," call in and weigh in on whether you would interact on Simpson's new Web site. That's today, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, noon Pacific. And we'll be back tomorrow with another edition of BURDEN OF PROOF.
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