LOS ANGELES — In the view of prosecutor Christopher Darden, O.J. Simpson confesses to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in his 2006 TV interview that aired Sunday night.
Public outcry forced Fox to scrap an earlier plan to air the incendiary footage 12 years ago.
In the interview with publisher Judith Regan, Simpson goes through a "purely hypothetical" discussion of what happened on the night his ex-wife and Goldman were murdered on the steps of Nicole Simpson's Brentwood condo. Simpson was acquitted of the double murders by a jury in 1995 after an 11-month trial that set the modern template for a media circus.
The interview features Simpson speaking in detail, albeit couched as a hypothetical, about his being present at the crime scene in June 1994, how he disposed of bloody clothes and other specifics of his actions following the slayings. He repeatedly laughed nervously while discussing the shocking crime.
Darden was featured on the two-hour special, "O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?" as part of a panel of experts who added commentary and analysis intercut with sections of the 2006 interview. Moderator Soledad O'Brien emphasized that Simpson was not paid by contemporary producers of the special.
During the interview, Simpson appears at times delusional, saying that he went to Nicole's condo on the night she died with a friend he described as "Charlie," who gave him a knife as he encountered Nicole and later Ron Goldman.
"I think he's confessed to murder. If I'd known he said this in 2006 I would not have objected to the release of this video," Darden said. "I don't think there's any question of his involvement and that he is the person who is wielding the knife."
Darden was among those whose objections forced Fox to table its plan to air the interview in 2006. It was meant to coincide with the publication via Fox's HarperCollins unit of a book by Simpson, "If I Did It," in which he detailed his "hypothetical" actions on the night of the murder. But the outrage led to Fox yanking both projects and company chieftain Rupert Murdoch issuing a public apology. The book was later published with proceeds claimed by the Goldman family as part of a verdict in the family's civil lawsuit against Simpson.
Regan was also part of the panel. She maintained she did not challenge Simpson on his statements because she wanted to keep him talking about the murders. She said Simpson told her that he agreed to speak in hypothetical terms "to maintain deniability with the children." Regan told the panel that the interview "absolutely" convinced her that he was the murderer. "There's no doubt in my mind," she said.
Fox ran a public service announcement for the National Domestic Violence Hotline during each commercial break in the two-hour special. Few blue-chip advertisers sponsored the program.
Fox executives maintain that they made the decision to air the 2006 interview after receiving the approval of Nicole Simpson's family and the Goldman family.
Simpson became a pariah even after the acquittals. He wound up serving nine years in prison for an armed robbery conviction in connection with a 2007 incident in Las Vegas. He was paroled in October.