Published November 21, 2006
Now that Tom Cruise is married and Michael Jackson is back in Ireland, let’s talk O.J.
Yesterday, FOX Broadcasting cancelled all its O.J. projects including his book, called "If I Did It," and his TV interview with Judith Regan.
That’s fine. Everyone’s mad at Regan, which is also fine. But let’s get back to the real story here: O.J. did indeed “do it.” He killed two people in cold blood on June 12, 1994. One of them was the mother of two of his children. Yes, he was acquitted by a jury in the criminal matter. But he was also found responsible for the murders by a more sensible civil jury in 1996.
I covered the O.J. Simpson trial for New York magazine and broke a lot of the stories surrounding that circus. For six months, from the day of the murder until the pretrial hearings kicked into gear, I followed every possible lead that would prove Simpson innocent. These included Nicole’s horrible little friend Faye Resnick, as well as many other similar murders in L.A. around that time.
And this is what came up: No one but O.J. Simpson could have killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. His friends may have helped cover it up, but in the end, it was all O.J.
There were a lot of theories about how he did it and lived with himself afterward. Apparently, in the unpublished book he says he had a "black out" period — if he did it.
One theory that I came to subscribe to was supplied by a freelance writer and his brother, who was a Harvard forensic psychiatrist. To this day it makes the most sense: Simpson was having steroid rage. This wasn’t from being on steroids, but from getting off of them. He’d been addicted to them for years when he took a pounding in football and stuck with them later for rheumatoid arthritis.
A lot of different details added up to this conclusion. For weeks, Resnick’s boyfriend, Christian Reichardt, had been weaning Simpson off the steroids with a fruit drink that Simpson promoted in a TV infomercial. Reichardt told me this had begun in late March, early April 1994. By June 12, Simpson was probably not feeling too well. Erratic outbursts, extreme emotions — these were indications that his withdrawal was not a success.
In the infomercial, made March 31, 1994, which was entered into evidence but never pursued, Simpson recalls "They had me on — you name it — Naprosyn, Indocin, Motrin, I, I had so much Motrin you couldn't believe it, you know.”
Then he talks about the miraculous turn around in his life from drinking Juice Plus: “And then before I knew it, I just start skippin' the Naprosyn and skippin the Indocin and skippin the pain pills, uh, the Advil. I mean I was one of these guys who was on six or seven Advils a day, you know, until today when I don't have to take anything.”
For some reason, no one bothered to ask the doctor what the effect would be of no longer taking all those drugs. And no one asked Dr. Robert Huizenga — a doctor whose specialty was steroids and athletes — one word on that subject as well.
Simpson, I learned from the FBI lab in Washington, had been tested for eight different kinds of drugs but not for steroids when he was arrested.
My sources’ claims, they say, were further emphasized by the Bronco “chase.” Al Cowlings, who’d been in the car with Simpson, described to a writer he’d hired for a book proposal that Simpson had been sweating like crazy in the car. His face had turned “golden,” Cowlings recalled. Sweat poured from him. Simpson was so incoherent that he let Cowlings do the talking for him.
The chase was on June 15. Three days earlier, Simpson had returned to L.A. from a visit to Chicago. Howard Weitzman had been his lawyer. Dr. Bertram Maltz , now deceased, had been his long-term physician.
When Weitzman handed over the reigns to Robert Shapiro, the first thing Shapiro did was get rid of Maltz and bring in Dr. Huizenga. Huizenga had just published a book on the subject, as physician for the L.A. Rams.
In his testimony at the criminal trial, Huizenga said that Simpson had given him “a one-month history of drenching night sweats so severe that he would have to get out of bed, towel himself off and go back and sleep in the dry portion of the bed.”
But nothing more was asked in this area by either side, and the words “steroid” or “rage” or “withdrawal” never again came up either in direct or cross-examination.
I interviewed Huizenga on the 10th anniversary of the murders in this column. You can read that column here.
As I wrote then: “What was most alarming, Huizenga told me, was 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.' It's odd that the prosecutors didn't even bother to ask about the sequelae," he said, tossing some much-needed Latin into our conversation. In other words: Clark's team never asked why Simpson had been limping, or what would have brought him to that point.”
Indeed, Clark and Chris Darden , who went on to have fame and make little fortunes off their horrendous loss in court, didn’t do a lot of things right.
It’s easy to blame Judith Regan for what’s gone wrong now, but Clark and Darden are the real culprits here, and the reason why O.J. Simpson is still walking around and causing trouble.
Michael Jackson still thinks he’s the King of Pop, but he’s been living off the Lord of the Dance for months.
Jackson, I can tell you, has been the guest of Michael Flatley for most of the last six months in Ireland. Flatley, unlike Jackson, is incredibly wealthy and really has the money available to him: more than $700 million, according to British press reports.
But here’s the rub: On Nov. 18, Flatley checked out of a London hospital after a two-week stay to battle what was described in the U.K. as a mysterious and serious ailment.
That was three days after Jackson’s roundly criticized appearance at the World Music Awards, which also took place in London. More on that in a minute.
Flatley, 48 and married last month to one of his “Dance” costars, is housing Jackson and Co. at his landmark County Cork estate.
Castle Hyde, as it’s called, must remind Jackson of Neverland, but 10 times over. Originally built in 1760 and completed in 1801, Castle Hyde has been gradually added to and modernized over the years. When Flatley bought it in 1999, he sunk millions more into it.
In Flatley, Jackson has found not only a kindred spirit, but one he can live off for a long time. Flatley has other magnificent homes in London, Paris, Chicago and Barbados, making him a kind of private hotel chain for Jackson and his band of three children, manager-nanny and security guards.
But Flatley also has a dark side. In the past, he’s admitted to dealing with serious bouts of drinking and depression. He has said in interviews that these lows occurred particularly after his first marriage ended in 1997. Last April he said he had been treated for facial skin cancer in 2003 but has completely recovered.
More importantly: Jackson and Flatley have something else in common. They’ve each been falsely accused of a terrible crime. And that’s how they probably met. Jackson, of course, beat a rap on child molestation last year. Flatley fended off an accusation of rape in 2002 by a woman with whom he said he had consensual sex.
The woman sued Flatley for $33 million, but the suit was dismissed in 2003 and he countersued her for $100 million.
Flatley’s attorney is Bert Fields, the Hollywood entertainment lawyer who represented Jackson back in 1994 during accusations from and a $20 million settlement with Jordan Chandler. Fields, of course, is a main player in the current Anthony Pellicano scandal in Hollywood.
Jackson, according to sources, was picked up from Castle Hyde to attend the World Music Awards and delivered there after the show was over.
The awards — which raise money to build hospitals and orphanages in Africa and are administered by Prince Albert of Monaco — paid for a private plane to transport Jackson and his gang to the Hempel Hotel in London.
Charity insiders say that Jackson was paid for expenses only — about $50,000 — and not the millions that have been rumored, insiders say.
The Hempel, it’s insisted, donated most of its space for Jackson’s midweek stay in exchange for the massive amount of publicity it received.
A representative for the hotel, however, said, “It’s not in our policy to give rooms away to anyone.” Nevertheless, the Hempel is now known worldwide, which wasn’t the case before last week.