Simpson declares innocence in double murder
Web posted at: 9:00 p.m. EST
SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson emphatically denied Friday that he had killed his ex-wife and a friend at her home. His appearance as a hostile witness in a civil wrongful-death suit against him marks the first time he has ever testified under oath before a jury about the death of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The murder victims' families filed the suit.
"You confronted Nicole Brown Simpson and you killed her, didn't you?" said plaintiffs' attorney Daniel Petrocelli.
"That is absolutely not true," Simpson said emphatically.
"And you killed Ronald Goldman, did you or did you not?" Petrocelli asked.
"That's absolutely not true," Simpson responded. He also denied that he was the one who dropped a glove behind his estate or put any bloody clothing in a bag after the slayings.
It was a dramatic ending to testimony that began Friday morning, and is expected to run three full days. Goldman family attorney Daniel Petrocelli started the day by asking whether Simpson had ever physically abused Nicole. Nicole wrote in her journal at one point that Simpson had hit her. Simpson said he had "never" hit, struck or beaten her, but that Nicole had hit him "many times."
"One time I grabbed her and pushed her out the door," Simpson replied. "If you call that physical, then I guess that was physical."
He said that he grabbed Nicole to force her out of his bedroom, and that he had to put her in a headlock to make her leave. One officer who arrived on the scene that night testified that there was a clear handprint around Nicole's neck.
Petrocelli asked him about a letter to Nicole in which he wrote, "I got so crazy." Simpson admitted he was concerned about losing Nicole after that incident, but also said he was always concerned.
Simpson also admitted breaking the windshield of his ex- wife's car with a baseball bat, but denied being in a state of rage at the time. "Nicole said, 'Don't hit the car with the bat,'" Simpson testified. "She moved my leg and said, 'You're hitting the hubcap, you'll pay for that."
"And your response was, bam! I'll pay for that too," Petrocelli said. He then asked if Nicole feared Simpson.
"I broke her windshield, but no big deal, no," Simpson said.
Petrocelli questioned Simpson about the time from 1992 when Nicole asked for divorce through 1993 when they began a reconciliation attempt. Simpson acknowledged that it was Nicole who asked for the divorce and that he was devastated.
Simpson supporters, detractors outside courtroom
As Simpson walked into the courthouse he did not acknowledge the shouts of several dozen critics and supporters gathered outside. Some supporters yelled, "Go Juice, go." Critics yelled, "Murderer, murderer."
The family of Ronald Goldman was cheered by many when they arrived, although there were shouts of "gold digger." Fred, Patty and Kim Goldman were in the courtroom, as were Denise and Juditha Brown.
All around the courthouse, news crews from around the country and the world were set up on the lawn, using microwave and satellite trucks to report the story.
At least 200 people signed up for the "lottery drawing" for the 16 courtroom seats set aside for the public. Some people lined up as early as 4 a.m. for the chance.
Jurors were casually dressed as usual. They took notes throughout, but showed no signs that they thought this day was unusual. Lawyers, on the other hand, appeared more tense Friday than during previous testimony and defense lawyer Robert Baker made more objections than usual.
Defense motion to bar book testimony rejected
Before Simpson was called to the stand, the defense brought a motion asking that the plaintiffs be barred from asking Simpson about any information contained in the Lawrence Schiller book "American Tragedy" that came from Simpson friend and attorney Robert Kardashian.
Simpson attorney Robert Blasier explained to Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki that in November of 1995 Simpson sent a letter to all his criminal defense counsel instructing them that they must have written permission from him before disseminating any information. Kardashian, Blasier said, did not honor this instruction.
"It's a little bit late, isn't it?" Judge Fujisaki replied to Blasier, noting that the defense could have brought this motion earlier when the book was published. Fujisaki denied the motion.
Blasier also asked that the plaintiffs be barred from mentioning in front of the jury that Simpson had not testified during the criminal trial. Fujisaki agreed, and granted that motion.
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