Guests: Catherine Crier, Kato Kaelin, Carl Douglas
ANNOUNCER: DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.
DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST: Murder in Brentwood. It was a crime that riveted a nation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J., what can you say about this?
NORVILLE: Two people brutally murdered. The suspect, a former football hero.
O.J. SIMPSON, ACQUITTED OF MURDER: Not guilty.
NORVILLE: What followed became one of the most sensational criminal trials in U.S. history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘ve never seen anything like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case is a circus.
JOHNNY COCHRAN, O.J.‘S ATTORNEY: If it doesn‘t fit, you must acquit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not guilty of the crime of murder.
NORVILLE: Court TV‘s Catherine Crier has one of the only interviews with Simpson 10 years later.
CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV: You talked about being angry with Nicole.
SIMPSON: I missed her. I couldn‘t really accept that she had passed.
NORVILLE: And some memorable players. Recollect the sights and the sounds of a trial that continues to spark debate.
COCHRAN: I move to strike that.
NORVILLE: Tonight a look back at the so-called trial of the century.
COCHRAN: This is a blockbuster. This is a bombshell.
ANNOUNCER: From Studio 3-K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.
NORVILLE: And good evening.
It has been ten years since O.J. Simpson stood trial, charged with killing his ex-wife Nicole and her friend, Ronald Goldman. But before the slow-speed Bronco chase, before the bloody glove, the Bruno Magli shoe prints, all the things that made for nearly 16 months of nationally televised drama, there was a horrific murder.
On the night of June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were brutally stabbed to death at Nicole‘s home in Brentwood, California. Police and prosecutors focused on O.J. Simpson as the prime suspect in the murder almost immediately afterward.
But after a long and colorful trial Simpson was acquitted October 3, 1995. It was one of the most racially divisive verdicts ever reached in this country.
Now ten years later the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman remain unsolved. For the next hour, we‘ll look back at the so-called trial of the century and speak with some of the players involved in a story that continues to unleash strong opinions, even a full decade later.
My first guest was one of the only journalists to interview O.J. Simpson one-on-one on this 10-year anniversary. Joining me tonight is Catherine Crier, the executive editor and anchor for Court TV. She also covered the criminal trial back in 1995.
Good to see you.
NORVILLE: How did the interview with O.J. come about?
CRIER: Well, apparently, he was going to do several interviews, and we got the call, “Would you like one of them?”
I‘ve never been good at sort of delivering flowers and chasing people down to do this kind of thing. And when they called and offered we said, “Absolutely, as long as it‘s no holds barred. You come in, sit down, we do a free flowing hour.”
NORVILLE: A free flowing hour. And was it a free interview? Because there have been some tabloid reports that say he was asking for money.
CRIER: Court TV paid?
NORVILLE: I didn‘t think so, but you have to ask the question.
CRIER: Hey, no, no, it‘s tough business. No, of course not. And I don‘t think—I don‘t know that he got paid for anything. They like to put these notes out, go take a picture at the gravesite. It was pretty gruesome some of the things the tabloids were reporting. But I don‘t know of any money he got.
NORVILLE: Tell me a little bit about O.J.‘s relationship with the press today. It was something that you and he talked about, and it‘s a bit of a love/hate relationship.
CRIER: I think so. He said if you came out and did these interviews maybe it would get the press off his kids and would sort of level things out a little bit. The tension wouldn‘t be so high.
But I do think O.J. Simpson loves the limelight and the opportunity to get back into a national focus rather than some cameraman chasing him on the golf course. I think he enjoyed that.
NORVILLE: Let‘s listen to O.J. talking about that the other night with your interview on Court TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: They‘re hounding my kids. They‘re hounding my kids‘ friends. They‘re following us. They‘re hanging outside my house.
So I figured I was told—and I think it‘s worked to some degree—that if I did one or two interviews and they knew that the—that exclusive title was gone, maybe it would deflect some of the attention from my house and family.
And it appears to have worked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Do you think that this will be the end, now that the ten-year anniversary has come and going, that they will leave O.J. alone? American won‘t care?
CRIER: Oh, heavens. We‘ve had the road rage incident. We‘ve had Sydney calling 911. A day without O.J. is like a day—I should say—without sunshine.
But he keeps percolating to the surface. I don‘t expect he will go away. Whether or not we decide we need to go through this exercise ten years hence, I don‘t know.
NORVILLE: Talk a little bit about O.J.‘s life since the verdict came in.
You mentioned the road rage incident. He was—he was accused of accosting another man in an incident that took place in an intersection in Florida where he now lives.
A year ago his daughter Sydney, who would have been probably 16 or 17 at the time, called 911 in tears saying, “My father doesn‘t love me.”
He was picked up in a satellite TV scam, accused of being involved in a ring that was getting TV signals for free.
O.J. seems to be a bit of a magnet for this, and it‘s not necessarily from anybody else‘s doing.
CRIER: Yes. And I think that‘s absolutely true. And he talked to Yale Galanter, and I‘ve asked him before...
NORVILLE: His attorney.
CRIER: ... his attorney—is he a magnet and he sort of smiles. And the implication is not so much that gee, everybody is chasing him and trying to catch him for something bad, but he seems to get embroiled in problems.
NORVILLE: And yet O.J. Simpson still believes that it was the media who made him the guilty figure.
NORVILLE: In the case ten years ago.
CRIER: Absolutely. He certainly seems—seems to believe what he tells us. It‘s hard for me now, after interviewing him several times, to think this is all a fabrication. I think somewhere back there, he‘s come to believe a lot of these things.
NORVILLE: Believe that he didn‘t do it.
CRIER: I wonder—at the conclusion of this interview when I asked him specifically about a conversation he had with Tom Lange in the Bronco, he denied vehemently to me that any conversation took place: “I never spoke with Tom Lange.”
And it‘s hard for him to think that he‘s going to get away with, quote, “a lie” when I‘m sitting there with a transcript. I know it took place.
So I wonder if he really doesn‘t remember some of these things, which doesn‘t abdicate responsibility at all. I really wonder whether he‘s blanked out in parts.
NORVILLE: It is theoretically possible for that to happen, is it not? A psychologist will say that this is possible. You could pass a lie detector test, even though you might have actually committed the act you‘re being asked about.
CRIER: There were two doctors—I didn‘t know much about this—that were hired by Shapiro and Cochran, had worked with them before the week of the 12th. They actually came in and began examining O.J. on the 15th.
One had worked with anabolic steroids, and so the use of cortisone or steroids, possibly other chemical combinations, he says clearly could have affected this. That the pulling him off, weaning him off of these, which apparently had been going on the month before the murders, could have had a, quote, “downstream effect.”
And the psychiatrist was also asked about this. And he said was he capable? Was he strong enough, mentally capable, as well, of committing these murders? And he said yes. Yes.
Both of these men have spoken out in the last month and actually the guy—the doctor, the steroids doctor says, “Nobody on the prosecution team asked me when he came limping into my office if he‘d been in the biggest fight of his life a day or two before. And I kept waiting for them to ask me.”
NORVILLE: But O.J.‘s team would have said the reason he‘s limping is he has gimp knees from years of injuries on the football field.
CRIER: But the videotape from the recital that night showed him moving around just fine, and it was not 48 hours later that he was limping badly. And the doctor says, “I think he may have been in a big struggle in the interim.”
NORVILLE: O.J. has always maintained that Nicole was killed by someone who was connected to this new circle of friends that she had become acquainted with, and he specifically pointed the finger in one of the comments that he made with you. I want to play that and then get a reaction to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: Everybody knows what—I think in general this group of people especially Faye Resnick and whatever they were involved in. A lot of panic going on then.
So whatever was going on in there is what led to this—to this incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: O.J. has a great way of speaking obliquely and pointing the finger in many different directions. Where was he specifically directing?
CRIER: Well, he was talking about Faye Resnick and her friends, of drug dealers and hookers is the way he has described it before.
But I asked him specifically. I said, “If you were so worried that she had been running with this crowd for six to eight months. You love your kids terribly. Why didn‘t you get your kids out of there? It obviously wasn‘t dangerous enough in your own mind to remove your children.”
And all of a sudden, he said, “Well, actually in May I was out shooting a film and I didn‘t know about this.”
Well, either you knew for six to eight months and you knew this was a bad crowd and had warned her family that she should get out of there, or this is a bunch of hogwash. Because he sure didn‘t feel it necessary to take his kids.
NORVILLE: And O.J.‘s relationship with his kids is an interesting one. We know about the 911 call Sydney that made. And she graduated a week ago from high school.
But surprisingly, he says he‘s never really spoken about their mother‘s death?
CRIER: You‘re a mom. Yes. You can understand how ridiculous—and I apologize, but it does sound ridiculous that, No. 1, he‘s never talked about it. No. 2, those children have never brought it up.
If they really thought their father was not involved, wouldn‘t they say, “Daddy, who do you think did this? What do you think happened?”
And he says not a word, and the doctors are advising him to wait until they bring it up.
NORVILLE: It‘s actually quite astonishing to hear this come from O.J.‘s mouth himself. This is what he says specifically took place with his son Justin, who‘s now 15, on this very subject.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I haven‘t sat down and had a long talk about him, about how much does he remember his mother. And this is a question I‘m always asked. People are actually incredulous about the...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Yes. I mean, O.J. talks over himself, but you were absolutely just incredulous about this.
CRIER: Well, I was incredulous, and I remain so. Because basically, he says, “Oh, children move on.”
They move on with the loss of their mother in a murder when they‘re 5 and 8 years old and in the house without ever talking about this sort of thing? That was one of the things I found most incredulous.
NORVILLE: Do you think he‘s lying when he says that? That the kids haven‘t talked about it? Do you think he‘s trying to perhaps protect his children from a private conversation, father to daughter and son?
CRIER: No, I think maybe they haven‘t talked to them. And that raises as many questions as if they had. Because you know these children are very bright kids. You know they‘ve been on the Internet. You know they‘ve talked to their friends. They‘ve probably seen many of these interviews.
So why wouldn‘t you talk to your father about it?
NORVILLE: And what is the relationship between O.J. Simpson and Lou and Judy Brown, the parents of Nicole, the grandparents who had custody of these kids during that period when O.J. was—was in jail and on trial?
CRIER: And the grandparents who said quite publicly at the end of the civil case, where he was found liable, “We‘ve been waiting for this day. Waiting for this declaration.”
He sort of says, and I can buy this, that there was a handshake between the two. “We‘re never going to agree. I know what you think, but the kids are our main focus. And we will be civil with each other for the children.”
NORVILLE: And they have been able to maintain that?
CRIER: I think so.
NORVILLE: All right. We‘re going to take a short break. When we come back, more with Catherine Crier and her interview with O.J. Simpson in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: She knew (UNINTELLIGIBLE) had a problem. The year that I had met Faye and the times I had seen her she had talked about Faye‘s drug problem. And keeping her off it. So something was going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COCHRAN: O.J. Simpson in a knit cap from two blocks away is still O.J. Simpson. It‘s in disguise, it‘s no disguise. It makes no sense.
It doesn‘t fit. If it doesn‘t fit, you must acquit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: That was attorney Johnny Cochran making the case that his client, O.J. Simpson, could not have been responsible for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.
I‘m joined again for more discussion about the case with Court TV‘s Catherine Crier, who had an interview with O.J. last night.
O.J. was found not guilty in the criminal trial. And a lot of people say it is because the investigation was so poorly handled.
CRIER: It was very, very sloppy. I talked to Barry Scheck last week. And Barry said one of the good things that came out of this was that he began traveling the country and teaching law enforcement agencies how to appropriately collect evidence.
Don‘t put things—wet things in a bag. Don‘t mix certain things. And he said so much of what happened there—I don‘t believe was conspiracy—but as he said, was very sloppy so you could have reasonable doubts about the contamination factor.
NORVILLE: Barry Scheck was the DNA expert for the defense team.
NORVILLE: Did he believe it was a conspiracy, or did he simply believe it was bungling and sloppy police work that could create the doubt?
CRIER: I think he may raise his eyebrows at the conspiracy and play with the subject a little bit. But this is my assumption. I think Barry thought it was sloppy police work.
NORVILLE: How is it possible that the Los Angeles Police Department could have handled evidence in such a slipshod way?
CRIER: We know so much today that we didn‘t know then. We were just getting educated about DNA. The officers were, too.
Now there were sloppy things. I remember when he did the cross examination of Dennis Fong. Barry for eight days was going, “Are you sure you didn‘t touch anything with your bare hands? Are you sure of this? Are you sure of that?”
And then our cameras that have been sitting there at the fence recording all of this, he was able to show on media footage bare hands doing this and this. So the possibilities of contamination were there.
But you had so many other elements that were not going to be subject to that. The Bruno Magli print. The hairs that matched O.J.‘s in the cap. The fibers from the Bronco. There was only six like this particular Bronco in terms of the interior. Those fibers are on Ron Goldman‘s shirts. They were on O.J.‘s socks back in his bathroom.
“Of course my fibers are on my socks.” Yes, but what are they doing...
NORVILLE: On the victim?
CRIER: ... on Ron Goldman?
NORVILLE: Who you presumably had never laid eyes on before.
CRIER: Absolutely. And something we need to remember. You came in with the O.J.—with the Johnny Cochran, “If you doesn‘t fit you must acquit.”
NORVILLE: ... fit you must acquit.
CRIER: We forget. They gave O.J. a brand new pair of extra large Isotoner gloves, same kind of glove, that fit perfectly.
NORVILLE: But they‘d never been wet with blood.
CRIER: That‘s right.
NORVILLE: They‘d never been in an evidence bag.
CRIER: And there wasn‘t a latex glove on underneath that cashmere lining.
NORVILLE: I think a lot of people watched this case -- and it spawned a million careers and we‘ll get into that in a second—and thought, “I know better than that. If I were O.J. Simpson in a million years my hand wouldn‘t have gone into that glove.”
CRIER: That‘s right.
NORVILLE: I could not have put my hand in that glove.
And you just—when—When the attorney asked him to do that, you just—you thought, “What are you thinking?”
CRIER: I couldn‘t imagine he would have done that. He was trying to preempt the defense, I‘m sure. They would have had him do it after checking that out.
But let them do it. And then you say, “Sure they‘re going to put it on him because it shrunk.”
CRIER: But for Chris to do it and be very sure that it would fit was really a punch in the face.
NORVILLE: Come on. Rule No. 1. You‘ve been an attorney. You‘ve been a judge. You don‘t ask the question if you don‘t know what the answer is.
NORVILLE: Now here‘s a question I don‘t know the answer. The Bronco chase, what was that all about? You spoke specifically with O.J. about the low-speed chase and why he was doing that.
I thought his answer was as curiosity raising as many of O.J.‘s answers. Let‘s give a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: As hurt and in as much pain I was going through, I don‘t remember saying these thing. You have this on tape?
CRIER: Oh, sure. The whole transcript.
SIMPSON: I‘d like to hear these tapes. I never spoke to Lange on tape.
CRIER: Oh, yes.
SIMPSON: I never did speak on tape.
CRIER: The whole time you were driving in the Bronco, you guys were...
SIMPSON: Absolutely, I will argue until the day comes home. He said he said something to me and hung up. I never spoke to anybody from the Bronco.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Wrong. He did.
CRIER: Eighteen pages of transcript that he talked to Tom Lange. And of course, they were recording all this. And in it, he described—
Remember he‘s driving along with a gun. He kept describing, “I couldn‘t do it in the field,” and I‘ve been told what the field referenced. I didn‘t know what it meant.
NORVILLE: The field in Chicago?
CRIER: The coliseum. He was—no, they were talking about Al Cowlings was going to drive him to the coliseum, the site of all of his great moments. And he was going to kill himself there.
He says, “I couldn‘t do it in the field. I couldn‘t do it at her gravesite. I want to do this at home where we were the happiest” as part of the conversation.
But the fact that he was so vehement that this did not take place was when I began to really wonder was there some sort of—something besides antidepressants that he was on. Because the complete lack of memory, you have to say, well, maybe there was some other chemical influence.
NORVILLE: Which goes back to what we were talking about in the Bronco. It is possible that you could delude yourself into thinking something never happened that in fact had.
Because was so sure he hadn‘t had that conversation.
CRIER: That‘s right. Remembering that Ron Shipp says he told me about the dream, the dream that he killed Nicole. You can begin to psychologically imagine that maybe he can‘t quite separate the two.
NORVILLE: Let‘s go through some of the other players in the O.J. case, many of whom had careers, incredibly lucrative careers as a result of this.
Prosecutor Marsha Clark, the lead prosecutor, ended up with a book deal that made her over $4 million, and she now has a career as a legal commentator for a television show.
And Chris Darden got his. Johnny Cochran had a show on Court TV for a long period of time.
CRIER: We know the kind of commentary that has gone on. All of these people have moved on to do a great deal of television commentary.
I did ask O.J. at one point, I said, “Are you ever sort of envious of all these people making lots of money?”
And here‘s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I don‘t begrudge any of them. You get what you can get. What bothers me is the people who benefited from it the most whenever I have an opportunity they seem to not want me to benefit and get the same benefits that they get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: What did he mean by that? He can‘t make money now?
CRIER: He‘s not limited as much as we think he is. The pensions are obviously protected from judgment in Florida. His homestead is protected.
But also, if you are sort of head of household, is the designation, and have small children or children in the house, he can protect a certain amount of income so that the children aren‘t on the dole somewhere.
So he actually can work a bit without the Goldmans or the Browns ever having access to the money.
NORVILLE: And the Goldmans and the Browns are entitled to a judgment of $33.5 million from the civil case, in which O.J. was found liable for their death. How much of that has actually been paid out?
CRIER: Pennies. They made a little bit on the Heismann trophy, on a few of the items, but negligible.
NORVILLE: Virtually nothing.
NORVILLE: And what about the search for the real killer? All along O.J. said when he was acquitted, “I will do everything in my power to bring the real killer to justice.”
We know that no one is in prison right now for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. How‘s the search coming?
CRIER: And beyond that, we know if he‘s so adamant that Faye Resnick and her friends, the universe of suspects is very small. A little bitty group there.
And the most I could ever find out was that a few people volunteered from time to time to help him out over the years. Never paid anybody, never set up a big search.
And he says now he‘s too busy and taking care of the kids so he‘s basically given up.
NORVILLE: And he doesn‘t have any money to pay for great investigators anyway.
CRIER: That‘s right. I don‘t think he ever did.
NORVILLE: Let‘s look at another case that‘s making headlines right now, the Scott Peterson case that‘s in the third week of the trial.
And it‘s curious to note that they‘ve taken a page out of the O.J. playbook. They‘re accusing police officers of having lied. They‘re accusing them of having completely bungled the investigation.
Can the magic work twice?
CRIER: It could. This case is very, very difficult. I think a lot of people have reached conclusions, but in fact, there are virtually no forensics.
There‘s one hair caught in pliers in the bottom of that boat. There‘s no evidence that a murder, any foul play took place in the house. We don‘t have anyone seeing Scott do something with the bodies.
But we do have the bodies showing up 90 miles from the home, the same place he was fishing, and then you begin to look primarily at what he has said, what Scott Peterson has said and done to help build the circumstantial case.
NORVILLE: Is that enough of a circumstantial case to get a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?
CRIER: If you exclude all of the reasonable hypotheses. Anything else reasonable that the defense can present has to be considered in light favorable to the defense.
But right now we‘re still getting a bit—the cult, the brown van. Gee, there were homeless people wandering in the park and they may have done something with her.
So the prosecution still has a good case.
NORVILLE: And O.J. says that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson, in his opinion, are innocent.
CRIER: Innocent. Absolutely. Of course he says they must be presumed innocent. But again, the media is going after them. They‘re being tried in the media and we should—we should back off these guys.
NORVILLE: So says O.J. Simpson to Catherine Crier of Court TV.
Catherine, good to see you. Thank you so much for coming in.
CRIER: Thank you, appreciate it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Coming up...
KATO KAELIN, FRIEND OF SIMPSONS: I heard a thumping noise.
ANNOUNCER: Former houseguest Kato Kaelin recalls his rise from obscurity into celebrity and his thoughts about who killed his friend, Nicole Brown, when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LAPD DETECTIVE: When I found the glove on this pathway, I have to—have to admit to you that the adrenaline started pumping, because I didn‘t really know what was going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: That was former LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman, testifying about finding a critical piece of evidence, the bloody glove.
Kato Kaelin, not quite a guest, not exactly a tenant, but a resident of O.J. Simpson‘s guest house, was a crucial trial witness in constructing a timeline for the night of the murders.
Kaelin went to McDonald‘s with Simpson that evening. Hours later he testified that he heard mysterious thumps, three of them on his bedroom wall. Prosecutors believe that that was the sound of O.J. Simpson jumping back over a wall onto his own property after they say he committed murder.
Joining me now is Kato Kaelin. Good evening. It‘s nice to see you.
KAELIN: Hi, good to see you too, Deborah.
NORVILLE: I‘ve always wondered. More than anybody else, of all the players in the Simpson case, I‘ve always wondered what your life would have been like had you not been at the Simpson home on June 12 of that year.
KAELIN: I—that‘s one of those questions that really can‘t be answered. But you know, I came up from Wisconsin to always be an actor, and my goal kind of is still the same. And I‘m still pursuing that.
And I mean, who‘s to say, really, what would have gone on, but the week before all this happened, I was just got—I just got done reading for a film at the time called “Dumb and Dumber”...
So—you‘re laughing a little bit too much at me being dumb, but I actually—I got to read for that film. And I thought, things are kind of going my way. And then that week, it happened and everything sort of just stopped.
NORVILLE: Do you think it nixed your chances? I don‘t know how you ranked in the audition. But do you think it nixed your chances for that film, possibly?
Like I said, it‘s a double-edged sword. I became very famous, but also at the time very hot, meaning no one wanted to touch it. No one wanted to touch Kato.
KAELIN: So it has been 10 years. And it could not be any better right now and things are just really, really terrific. And I think people let the time kind of go by.
KAELIN: And it took sort of 10 years, but I‘m still doing the exact same thing, Deborah, trying to survive on being an actor.
NORVILLE: I want to talk about that in just a couple of minutes.
NORVILLE: But I want to talk a little bit about the role that you played in the case. First of all, how did you know the Simpsons? You and Nicole and I think had met on a ski vacation at one point?
KAELIN: Yes. I was with a buddy of mine and he sort of hit it off with Nicole. And, at the time, we were in Aspen. And I sort of was the third wheel on all the dates.
And then we came back to L.A. and she threw a party. And I was a guest at the party. And that‘s when—she lived on Gretna Green. And I saw this great house behind her house. And, at the time, I was living in Hermosa Beach. It‘s kind of a long drive to get into L.A. And I said, who is living there? And she said, you can live there. And that was—that‘s how it all started. And I became very, very close to the children.
NORVILLE: And you would baby-sit for the kids. Did you pay rent or were you really sort of living there to help out around the house in exchange for room and for board?
KAELIN: No, no. No, no, I was holding down a job. I was not the baby-sitter. I paid rent. I had a casting business at the time and I just was the guy that lived in the back, paid rent.
KAELIN: And I was not the baby-sitter, although the big thing was, Deborah, that they trusted me with the kids, which is probably one of the most important things a parent can do. And I was trustworthy and the kids loved me.
NORVILLE: Well, and then you were brought into the trial as a witness in whom the prosecution put a great deal of faith, because you could help establish that timeline.
I want to play just an excerpt of your testimony during the trial and then come back.
MARSHA CLARK, PROSECUTOR: During that phone call, sir, did something unusual occur?
CLARK: And what was that?
KAELIN: I heard a thumping noise.
CLARK: How many thumps did you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, leading.
JUDGE LANCE ITO: Overruled.
CLARK: Can you demonstrate for us how loud it was?
KAELIN: Somewhat, yes.
CLARK: Go ahead. Yes, go ahead.
NORVILLE: What did you think those thumps were at the time and did your opinion of that change later?
KAELIN: At the time, I thought completely it was maybe a small earthquake, because I did notice there was a picture that moved. And when that picture moved, I thought, oh, I think we had an earthquake. And I was talking to this girl on the phone and I said, did you feel that? And she didn‘t.
So, at the time, I thought that‘s what happened. Now, in hindsight, I think it‘s exactly what the detectives also thought, that someone had come across the wall and bumped into it. And, of course, we all know that‘s where the glove was found.
NORVILLE: And that someone, then, would have been O.J. Simpson.
KAELIN: I believe so, yes.
NORVILLE: Now, you were speaking on the phone with a friend. You called that friend back later. And she told a couple of people that, in the second phone call, you said you opened the door to the guest house and O.J. Simpson was right out there. Is that true?
KAELIN: No, no, and I didn‘t say that, because, at one point, I had a phone call interrupted that O.J. Simpson had said that he forgot to alarm the house and he knew that I never know the alarm code. And the last thing I said to him, I said, don‘t forget to set the alarm.
No, I never did. I walked outside. And when I walked out of the guest house, I went to the front and I saw that there was a limousine waiting by the gate. And that‘s the—the limo guy was never in. And I couldn‘t figure out why he was outside and not in.
NORVILLE: Right. Right.
NORVILLE: We‘re going to stop the story right there. The limo driver of course was Allan Park, who was also a critical part in the O.J. Simpson timeline being established.
We‘ll take a short break. Back more with Kato Kaelin right after this.
NORVILLE: In just a minute, more with Kato Kaelin as we look back 10 years on the trial of the century. We‘ll also be joined by a member of O.J. Simpson‘s dream team.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911 Emergency.
NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON, VICTIM: Can you get someone over here now to 325 Gretna Green? He‘s back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, just stay on the line.
BROWN SIMPSON: I don‘t want to stay on the line. He‘s going to beat the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of me.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
NORVILLE: That was a 911 call Nicole Brown Simpson made to police in 1993. Back again to discuss the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, Kato Kaelin, who was O.J. Simpson‘s former house guest and friend.
Mr. Kaelin, did Nicole ever express any concerns about her safety vis-a-vis O.J. or anyone else for that matter?
KAELIN: No, she didn‘t.
As a matter of fact, before the break, you played the tape of the 1993 phone call. And that was one of the questions in court. And they had asked me if these doors were broken down. And I never did see it, but I know, because they weren‘t broken, that he had broke the doors.
But I didn‘t meet anybody until 1993. And I believe all the fighting or the hitting was in 1989. And I didn‘t—didn‘t know any of them until 1993. So I never saw any of the violent behavior in O.J. with Nicole.
NORVILLE: Did O.J. talk to you? Because I know that night, when you all went to McDonald‘s, he had said to you that he thought it was over with Nicole. Did he say that in anger? Did he have any sense of jealousy about her and her new life?
KAELIN: You know, that whole McDonald‘s thing was just quiet. And there was really no talking. I felt like I was the guy that invited myself and I felt bad about it. And he kind of made me feel bad that I invited myself, so I was kind of being quiet in the car. But it was just—pretty much just silence.
NORVILLE: He was acquitted in the criminal trial, but found liable in the civil case. What I‘ve never understood—and maybe you as somebody who knew both of them could say—why? Why would O.J. have killed Nicole Brown?
KAELIN: That‘s a question I don‘t know. I do believe that he‘s guilty. Why?
I have no idea. I mean, it‘s a terrible thing. It‘s a terrible thing, what happened to Ron and Nicole. And I think the jury made the wrong decision.
NORVILLE: Just a few minutes ago, as you know, we were talking with Catherine Crier, and she played some excerpts of how O.J. says that it‘s never come up between him and his children what happened to their mother, the way she died, the circumstances.
Does that make sense to you as someone who was so close to these kids, having been a trusted baby-sitter, that these children would not have been inquisitive about their mother‘s passing?
KAELIN: I think that it may be true they didn‘t talk to him. But I think they‘re inquisitive by talking to other people.
I don‘t think they‘re maybe discussing it with the father, but I believe that they‘re definitely talking to someone about it.
NORVILLE: Have you ever talked to the kids since the murders?
KAELIN: No, I‘ve had no contact for nine years, not 10. The first year, yes, there was contact, and, then, after that, no contact with anybody.
KAELIN: I wanted to explain. During the time of the trial, it was always sort of in the headlines, Kato‘s closest pal, O.J., O.J.‘s closest pal, Kato.
Well, when Catherine Crier did an interview, I was happy to hear him say that he really wasn‘t close to me at all. And I explained that to people. I was just the guy in the back. These are—I didn‘t really hang out that much with any of these people. I just had my own gig going on, which was casting. And I had my own set of friends. I sort of just had the room with a view. And I kept to myself, to my friends.
NORVILLE: It turned out to be quite a view.
NORVILLE: Career-wise, you‘ve done a variety of interesting things. You were in this one movie called “Beach Fever,” which you were sort of the heartthrob guy and did a lot of kissing on girls.
NORVILLE: And I know you‘ve got another one called “Inner Sanctum 2.”
NORVILLE: Go ahead.
KAELIN: It‘s a horror film and all that. And “Beach Fever” was a while ago. You won‘t catch that unless you‘re on an aircraft carrier.
But the things that are kind of going on now, Deborah, which are just great is where I‘ve always wanted to be. I‘m at “National Lampoon.” I‘m in comedy development. I just did a show for them we‘ll be going to network with called “Dumb Sports,” and hosting the VH-1 “I love the ‘90s” coming up in July. And it‘s the same thing I have always wanted to do. It just took sort of a pause in my life and the—now it‘s picking back up and even going to have a blow dryer through Conair. It‘s going to be a Kato blow dryer.
NORVILLE: Get out of here. You‘re selling hair dryers?
KAELIN: No, I‘m not selling them. They‘re going to make one that, instead of the warm, cool, it is just going to say, warm, dude, cool, dude, and hot, dude. So look for that soon through Conair.
NORVILLE: All right, well, I guess yet another career has been launched courtesy of the O.J. Simpson case.
Kato Kaelin, it‘s good to see you. Thanks a lot for being with us.
Good luck with the hair dryer.
KAELIN: So, so good. Thanks a lot.
ANNOUNCER: Up next, it was the best defense team money could buy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: The answer to O.J.
Simpson‘s guilt or innocence can only be determined by you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Former Simpson defense attorney Carl Douglas reveals how the famous dream team convinced a jury to acquit O.J.
DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED JUROR: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder, in violation of Penal Code Section 187-A, a felony upon Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being as charged in count one of the information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Rarely has America witnessed the kind of intense racial emotion experienced after the verdict was read in the O.J. Simpson murder trial 10 years ago.
Along with the blood and DNA evidence, timelines and alibis, race did become a key factor in the trial. Many observers accused O.J.‘s attorneys of playing the race card during the trial. Others accused the LAPD of framing Simpson driven by racism.
Joining me now from Los Angeles is the attorney who you‘ve seen consulting with O.J. Simpson. Carl Douglas was a member of the infamous dream team, one of the attorneys who represented O.J. Simpson in the trial of the century.
It‘s good to see you again.
CARL DOUGLAS, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: Thank you, Deborah.
Thanks for having me on.
NORVILLE: How stunned were you when that verdict was read in court that day?
DOUGLAS: I really wasn‘t that surprised, Deborah. I had been present the prior day while the jury was deliberating. I was aware of some of the questions and the testimony that they had wanted to have reread.
I was aware that earlier Monday as well that they had reached a verdict after they had listened to a portion of the limo driver‘s testimony. And I was convinced that day that the jury had returned a verdict in favor of not guilty. And I spoke to almost every member of the defense team that evening, conveying that thought to each of them.
NORVILLE: Did they believe you?
DOUGLAS: Oh, sure, because I was there and I had a chance to really see firsthand what was going on. It was an experienced jury, so they were all very poker-faced. But I thought it was difficult, if not impossible, for them to have returned any other verdict in less than a day that they spent deliberating. So I was pretty confident.
NORVILLE: What was it that brought you to the O.J. Simpson case? Was it that you thought he was being railroaded or something else?
DOUGLAS: Well, quite honestly, it was more simple than that.
I was an employee in Johnnie Cochran‘s office, having worked there for about 11 years. So I was just working on a case that had been assigned to my boss that he took on.
NORVILLE: Just doing your job. Well, it turned out to be an incredible job.
You know the controversy about the verdict. And it is interesting to see how people‘s opinions break down. Last weekend, NBC News did a poll about what people believe 10 years later on O.J. Simpson‘s guilt or innocence. And 77 percent of Americans said that they thought that Simpson was guilty; 22 percent said not guilty. But when you break it down by race, 87 percent of whites say guilty and only 29 percent of African- Americans. Why do you think there is such a disparity in those numbers?
DOUGLAS: Well, I think, Deborah, that there still is tremendous difficulties between the African-American community and police departments across this country. And I think we were able to bring forward in our case issues that really questioned the integrity not only of the police investigation into the crime itself, we brought forth problems that were rampant at the scientific investigation crime lab there. And we also brought forth issues that raised a question about whether or not there were some racial motives behind this prosecution.
Now, Deborah, for most of America, when they think about their police departments, the police protect and serve them. Regrettably, however, that has not always been the history of relationships between the Los Angeles Police Department and the African community here. So I think that historical context was important in appreciating the reasons behind this particular verdict.
NORVILLE: Some people said there was sort of a hangover effect left over from the Rodney King verdict, where so many people felt that justice had not been served.
DOUGLAS: I don‘t know so much that there was a hangover effect, but the images from that trial certainly gave credence to the claims of many African-Americans that the police were not always fair when dealing with our community. And some of that historical context, I‘m sure, was part of the view through which many of the jurors examined the issues in this case.
NORVILLE: The flip side on that, though, is that O.J. Simpson was an incredibly wealthy man and he was able to get the best defense that money could buy. And that high-priced defense was able to get a verdict that a less well-heeled client would have been able to get.
DOUGLAS: Well, I think that is really a bigger story about this case, probably even more so than race. O.J. had the resources available to him to combat the awesome power of the state.
And only because he was able to hire some of America‘s foremost experts, including doctors, Michael Baden and Henry Lee, within days of the incident was he really able to combat the awesomeness of the state‘s power. And it speaks to so many public defender agencies across the country that lack those kinds of resources. And it makes it difficult for them to play on a level playing field.
NORVILLE: You know what‘s interesting? You are one of the few people who did not write a book after this case. But when you go through the list, it‘s pretty impressive.
Marsha Clark wrote her book, “Without a Doubt.” She got $4 million for it. Chris Darden wrote his book entitled “In Contempt.” He reportedly got $1.3 million. Mark Fuhrman wrote “Murder in Brentwood.” Johnnie Cochran wrote his book, “Journey For Justice,” reportedly for $2.5 million.
I‘m sure there was a contract for you to write a book out there. Why didn‘t you go down that road?
DOUGLAS: Well, because I thought about it, Deborah, and I refused to be defined by that particular case.
I was only 40 years old when the verdict was rendered. And I felt that I had so much more living to do, so much of my life still to lead. There is indeed a book in my future, but I didn‘t think it was the right time to do one then. I‘ve continued to work as a lawyer, doing great things in my life. And, hopefully, there will be a book that comes out and the O.J. Simpson saga will be but a chapter, but not the entire book.
NORVILLE: In the meantime, the O.J. Simpson saga continues to color legal cases even today. What do you think about the strategy being used by Peterson‘s defense team in the Scott Peterson case, that it was bad police work and police officers who are lying in trying to press their defense forward?
DOUGLAS: Well, I am not as familiar with the facts of that particular case as I am, of course, with the Simpson case.
But you really have to use the issues that are presented in your case.
Clearly, in the Scott Peterson case, there was an immediate focus on Mr.
DOUGLAS: In the O.J. case. The husband is always the source of the focus. And so, if there is, in fact, issues that suggest that there were collection problems, that there were investigation problems, that in fact there was a rush to judgment, it‘s appropriate for his lawyer to bring those issues up as well.
NORVILLE: I guess the biggest difference is, they don‘t have cameras in the Scott Peterson courtroom. And they certainly did in the O.J. Simpson.
Carl Douglas, it‘s nice of you to check in with us 10 years later. We appreciate it.
DOUGLAS: Thank you much for having me on the case.
We‘ll be right back. In just a moment, we‘ll check out some of your e-mails about former President Ronald Reagan.
NORVILLE: A lot of you have written to us about the coverage of Ronald Reagan‘s death and funeral services this past weekend. Though some of you thought there was too much coverage, others of you thought it was appropriate.
Linda Dutrow from Frederick, Maryland, writes: “You had a lovely show this evening on Nancy and Ronald Reagan, touching on their last 10 years and the president‘s battle with Alzheimer‘s. So much needs to be done with this incurable deadly disease.”
And Trish Conway writes in from Cleveland, Ohio. She said: “I‘d like to thank you for the wonderful show you did tonight on Ronald Reagan and Nancy. The way you informed the public about Alzheimer‘s was great. Your show has been the best one I‘ve seen yet since Reagan has done.”
Thank you. A lot of people work real hard around here. And we appreciate it.
Send us your ideas and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com. And some of your e-mails will be posted on our Web page. That address is NORVILLE.MSNBC.com. And while you‘re there, you can sign up for our newsletter.
Thanks for watching tonight. I‘m Deborah Norville.
Tomorrow, another American has been taken captive. This time, it‘s Paul Johnson, a civilian contractor who works in Saudi Arabia. He works for Lockheed Martin. And as his family here in the states are appealing for his release, tomorrow night, we‘ll be joined by Molly Bingham, an award-winning photojournalist who was captured and detained in Baghdad earlier this year. Since her release, she has stayed in Iraq. And tomorrow night, she‘ll be with us to talk about her ordeal and share some of her latest photographs.
Coming up next, though, Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”
Thanks for watching. We‘ll see you tomorrow.
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