Timing is everything. And no one has worse timing than O.J. Simpson.
Yesterday he filed for an overturn of his conviction and for release from a Las Vegas prison. He’s serving a 9 to 33 year term for charges stemming from a hotel room heist that involved guns.
Today is the 16th anniversary of the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex wife, and Ronald Goldman. A civil court decided he was responsible for the deaths. A criminal court jury, as we all know, acquitted him.
Having no sense of propriety or contrition, Simpson allowed his attorney, Yale Galanter, to file in the Las Vegas case on– of all days–the anniversary of this grisly murder. And even though Simpson was acquitted by the criminal case jury, he more or less admitted to the murders in his book, “If I Did It.”
The book, now owned by the victims’ families, maps out how Simpson carried out this tragic crime. Judith Regan, then publisher of her own book imprint at Rupert Murdoch‘s Harper Collins, paid Simpson almost a million dollars before anyone was the wiser. By the time it was discovered the money was gone–spent or hidden–and the victims’ families were unable to recover it as part of their judgment in the civil case.
During my coverage of the Simpson criminal trial for New York magazine, I was offered an explanation of the murders by a Harvard forensic psychiatrist and a writer who’d interviewed Simpson pal Al Cowlings. The scenario was that Simpson had been addicted to steroids all his life for rheumatoid arthritis. But in the weeks leading up to the murders, he’d stopped taking them cold turkey and had substituted a health drink devised by his friend, Dr. Christian Reichardt. The pair I spoke to concluded that Simpson was in steroid withdrawal.
In fact, when Simpson returned to Los Angeles from Chicago the day after the murders (he’d flown there approximately after they’d happened), his attorney, Robert Shapiro, replaced Simpson’s long time physician with Dr. Robert Huizenga, an expert on steroid use among professional athletes. A few years ago, when I asked Dr. Huizenga why he hadn’t discussed any of this when he testified in the trial, he responded: “They asked me the wrong questions.”
“My take, and what I say now, is that Simpson was innocent in the trial,” Huizenga told me.
“That doesn’t mean he did or didn’t do it. Let’s face it, the evidence is completely suspicious. Some guilty people are set free,” Huizenga said.
Huizenga told me he was shocked about how prosecutors treated him. His direct questioning by the state was from Deputy District Attorney Brian Kelberg, who worked for Marcia Clark.
“I told them that Simpson appeared to be limping when he came into my office. Instead of asking me about that, they said, ‘He wasn’t limping, you’re lying, we have tape of him from two months before.’”
Clark’s team never asked why Simpson had been limping, or what would have brought him to that point.
On the stand, Huizenga told Kelberg that Simpson walked into his office three days after the murders “like Tarzan’s grandfather.” Instead of exploring how Simpson could have come to be in that condition, Kelberg replied: “…perhaps Mr. Simpson was faking a limp in your office?”
“They assumed I was lying,” Huizenga said to me. “They didn’t ask me if it was possible that he’d been in the greatest fight of his life just a few days before.”