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Simpson returns to the stand

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January 10, 1997
Web posted at: 6:20 p.m. EST

SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- For the second time during his civil trial, O.J. Simpson took the stand Friday to defend himself against the wrongful-death lawsuit filed against him.

This time, Simpson was questioned by his own attorney, Robert Baker. In November, Simpson faced two days of tough questioning by attorneys representing the plaintiffs -- the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

His testimony was delayed until afternoon while attorneys argued over how much Simpson would be allowed to say, if anything, about his ex-wife's alleged drug use, promiscuity and abortion.

Before Simpson took the stand, Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki ruled that Simpson's testimony about his ex-wife's behavior was relevant because it could explain Simpson's actions during arguments between the couple and address Simpson's motive or lack of motive to kill her.

Baker began his gentle questioning by asking Simpson for basic information: his birth date, his childhood and family and his early athletic career. He also questioned Simpson about his first marriage, to Marguerite Simpson, which ended in divorce.

Baker zeroed in on the 1969 book "Education of a Rookie" that was written by a ghost writer the first year Simpson played football for the Buffalo Bills. Simpson said he was approached by publishers to write a book and asked his agent to find a writer.

Plaintiff's attorney Daniel Petrocelli asked Simpson in November about a comment Simpson made in the book that indicated he was an effective liar.

Simpson told Baker he made the comment in the context of playing a joke on a veteran Bills teammate.

"You have never bragged about being an effective liar?" Baker said.

"No," Simpson replied.

As for his relationship with Nicole, he testified that they met in 1977. By 1980, they were living together in his Rockingham mansion, he said.

When Baker asked Simpson to describe the years between 1989 and 1993, when he lived with Nicole, Simpson replied, "It was super. I totally enjoyed it."

"Did you ever at that time hit Nicole outside an animal clinic?" Baker asked, referring to earlier testimony by a witness for the plaintiffs.

"Absolutely not," an indignant Simpson responded.

Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of murder charges in the June 1994 stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and Goldman. The victims' families have sued him, contending he is responsible for the deaths.

 
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