Published May 13, 2008
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," May 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Mike Gilbert knows O.J. Simpson very well. He is Simpson's former sports agent and long-time friend, and he is now breaking his silence, confessing that he helped O.J. Simpson get away with murder.
Gilbert stood by Simpson during the double murder trial and for years afterwards. But now Gilbert wants to talk, or actually wants to write. Gilbert is the author of the new book "How I helped O.J. Get Away With Murder." Earlier he went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, it's nice to see you, and I suppose we shall tell the viewers that you and I have known each other for a long time.
MICHAEL GILBERT, FORMER SPORTS AGENT FOR O.J. SIMPSON: I think I had hair when I first met you. I think it has been about 14 years, or 12 years.
VAN SUSTEREN: Since O.J.
GILBERT: Since O.J. O.J. one, the first trial.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let's start with that. How do you know O.J.?
GILBERT: I was introduced to O.J. through Marcus Allen, who was a client of mine back in the 80's. and one night I got a phone call from Marcus--well I though it was Marcus, but it turned out to be O.J. He said in his deep O.J. voice "Mike, this is O.J. Marcus wanted me to call you."
I thought it was probably Marcus playing a joke because it was 11:30 at night, I cursed at him and asked him why would you call me this late. Then I heard Marcus laugh in the background, and it turned out to be O.J.
He set up a meeting. I went to his house, became his agent.
VAN SUSTEREN: In the time about 1992, 1993, 1994, would you say you were close to O.J.?
GILBERT: Very close. We traveled together. We would go to out of town games. I knew O.J. very well, and I had a different perspective than most people, because he didn't have to hide anything from me because I wasn't his wife or his girlfriend. I wasn't his business attorney--or from Kathy Randa, his assistant.
He could just be O.J. without the mask. So I saw all the different aspects of O.J.'s life.
VAN SUSTEREN: The question, did he murder those two?
VAN SUSTEREN: The title is "How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder," and it sort of chronicles that whole effort. Feel good about it?
GILBERT: You know, I feel good about it that finally somebody from the inside, from that inside circle that I know that you through your investigations, being around the trials, that you saw.
There was that inner circle of us that even before the murders, we were there, our jobs were to promote O.J., keep his image very, very clean, and make him be somebody that you would want to go out and wear the same shoes that he wore or eat at the same restaurants, and that type of thing. We continued on.
I feel good about it that I came out. Like you said the title "How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder." That could be me or a lot of other people that were around O.J. and Nicole.
VAN SUSTEREN: But in reading the book, and in our conversation over the years, there is an incredible sense of anguish. I don't feel like these were happy times, 10 or 12 years, or 14 years. These were years of anguish.
GILBERT: There were a lot of years--it took me that long, Greta, and you've seen me through the civil trial and the anguish that I went through then because here I know that my childhood idol, the person I grew up and I always wanted to be O.J., that I admired him, could murder two people, and watch the lies and then to watch the evidence pile up and mount against him.
It was very difficult because I saw this person and I started seeing him as America saw him after the murders. That was very difficult.
I liken it to, if you go to a museum here in Washington or New York and you walk upon a Monet and you stand next to it. You really can't tell what it is until you step back maybe 10 or 20feet and then you see this beautiful painting.
That was what it was with O.J. It took me that long to remove away from O.J., to get away from his spin, so to speak, to look at the painting of O.J.'s life and see that this guy really wasn't all those things that we thought he was--the guy running through the airport, hurdling over the suitcase, "The Naked Gun Movies."
That wasn't O.J. That's not the O.J. that Nicole knew. What you heard on that tape in Las Vegas of O.J. ranting and raving, the tape from the 911 call when he kicked Nicole's door in, him yelling and cursing--that's the O.J., that's the real O.J. behind the mask.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you knew that early on. I mean, you knew that because you knew he was cheating on his wife, you knew about the tape where he beaten Nicole. But you stuck with him. Why?
GILBERT: A lot of reasons. And there, again--the first day, June 12, I'm in Yosemite, I'm rock climbing. Marcus is in the Cayman Islands. O.J., I thought, was in Chicago playing golf. So it was a good day to be Mike Gilbert. I wake up Sunday morning, I make a hike, I call my wife to tell her I am going to stay a few more days and do a rock climb. I call her, and Debbie, the first words out of her mouth, "Mike, you need to get to Rockingham. Nicole has been murdered and O.J. is in handcuffs."
And we've talked about this before--the first thing I said, the first thing out of my mouth was, he finally did it. I couldn't tell you 14 years ago why I thought that, and I can't tell you now, but that was the first thing I thought.
But I didn't know. I didn't know. In my heart I knew, but I was like everybody else--I watched the evidence mount. I watched it pile up.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you stuck with him?
GILBERT: I stuck with him. He was my idol, he was my friend, my client. He was all of these things in my life. And it was one bad decision and one bad step that led to another, and another bad step. And before you know it there is no right and wrong, there's not a white and a black. It was a gray area.
And by then we had what we call a bucker mentality. We were all in the middle. Everybody was throwing in grenades at us and we were just defending who we always defended--O.J.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, more of our interview with O.J. Simpson's former agent. The burning question will be answered next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you ever say to him, O.J., did you do it?
VAN SUSTEREN: And his answer was?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: O.J.'s response--stick around to hear it.
And later, a couple goes out on their boat and vanishes on the high seas. Here is the bizarre part--the boat has been found in Mexico without the couple. What clues in the boat might explain where they are?
VAN SUSTEREN: Mike Gilbert is O.J. Simpson's former agent and long- time friend, and he just wrote a book called "How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder."
Now the name of that book speaks for itself. Earlier Mike went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: In the book you talk about the very famous glove incident. In terms of the--there's the one part where everyone is sort of- -I don't know if there was a right term--protected O.J., the bunker mentality. But there are also specific acts to help him get away with murder. One was the glove. What happened with the glove?
GILBERT: With the glove--we were sitting in the jail in the attorney room, and he was talking about trying the glove on, and either the prosecution would have him do it or we would--either way the glove's going on.
And he was worried about how he was supposed to look when he put the glove on. I said, remember, O.J., the jurors will watch every moment, everything you do if you tense up, if you start to sweat, if you turn your head.
Because they know Nicole's blood is on those gloves. The killer wore those gloves. It's not just that. But to make sure it doesn't fit, why don't you just not take your arthritis medicine, why don't you take aspirin for a week.
He said, why, my hands will get all swollen? I said, exactly. Because his knuckles--he had severe arthritis, and he doesn't take arthritis medicine or aspirin, his hands become huge where he can barely close his hands. So I felt that would ensure that the gloves wouldn't fit, because I was pretty sure the gloves were his.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you ever say to him, O.J., did you do it?
VAN SUSTEREN: And his answer was?
GILBERT: Well, let me give you--it was a very difficult thing to do. People ask me all the time--why didn't you ask O.J. in jail if he did it?
It was because I didn't want to put him in a position, one, to lie to me; two, I knew in my heart from day one that he did it, and all I did was become more and more convinced throughout the trial--the cut on the knuckles, the blood drops, the DNA, their blood in his Bronco, his blood in the foray of his home, the blood on the socks.
All those things just convinced me more so. And what happened, we were sitting at his house, it was one of the nights in L.A. where the rain rolls in and rolls out and then it is calm and you go outside and it was just beautiful.
We went on his balcony outside his bedroom and he smoked a little bit of pot. He said he hadn't been sleeping very well and could I give him an Ambien. I gave him a 10 milligram Ambien. We drank some Rolling Rock, sat and watched TV.
And he got very melancholy. He talked about a tree that he had carved his initials in, that he and Nicole had spent thousands of dollars to save a tree. And he was very melancholy, and it just seemed like this is the time. It's almost like a guy that's going to propose--this is the time to ask him.
And so I ask him--O.J., what happened June 12? And he just leaned back and closed his eyes, and said what do you think happened? I know you went there because you told A.C. you went there and A.C. told Mike you went there. I talked to A.C. about it, so I know you went there.
And he said, I went and she wouldn't open the door. And she opened the door with a knife. And he mumbled that a couple times. So she would still be alive? He said if she didn't open the door with a knife she would still be alive.
And we sat there, and it was an odd feeling because I couldn't even believe that, one, I really went there, because his friends just don't do that. You just don't say anything. It's like the pink elephant in the room, you just look the other way, you just ignore it. And I had never wanted to ask him until that night and it just seemed like the right time to do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: How is he going to feel about "How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder," when he sees this?
GILBERT: Deep down in his own heart he will probably think nobody helped me, I did it myself. But then again, that's O.J.
I think a lot of people will read the title, and there's a lot of people that will think, that's me too.
VAN SUSTEREN: Once June 12 hit, he was not convicted of a double murder, and there was a lot of effort to protect him. The lawyers have legal obligations, do things ethically within the law, and effectively.
GILBERT: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: but what were sort of the shady things that people did?
GILBERT: Even through the murders and then through the Goldmans wanting to exact their justice or revenge, however you want to look at it. We hid items, we removed items from his house, his $65,000 lamps. We moved those.
VAN SUSTEREN: So basically after the criminal trial and civil trial with this large judgment with the vans coming to pick up the stuff to satisfy the judgment, there was an all-out effort to deceive, like put non- valuable items in place of valuable, to take the valuable stuff out.
Did O.J. get the valuable stuff?
GILBERT: Yes. Yes. I guess the courts rule that you can have household, normal household items. But I don't think a Tiffany lamp that is $65,000 is necessarily a household item.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you put a fake one in?
GILBERT: We put several. By the time I got there we started moving items out of the house and putting them into storage units, people's homes, the back of my car. It went everywhere. Some of the attorneys had items.
VAN SUSTEREN: So they were in on it?
GILBERT: A couple of them, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who is in on it?
GILBERT: Can't tell you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why? You might as well tell all.
GILBERT: Because I don't want anybody to get disbarred.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, Mike, if they did something crooked-- lawyers are supposed to be aggressive, but they have to play within the rules. If the lawyers aren't going to--
GILBERT: We had attorneys that were owed money that we knew would lose the Bentley, his Rolls-Royce, his Bentley. So one of the attorney's took that in payment and we backdated when he received that--
VAN SUSTEREN: Do the lawyers know that, that it was backdated?
GILBERT: Absolutely, because it was after the judgment.
VAN SUSTEREN: As bizarre as it sounds, Mike, and covering this story for so long and knowing all the players, knowing you and everything, as twisted as this sounds, I bet you could pick up the phone and call O.J. Simpson and have a normal conversation--whatever's normal.
You've had the weirdest, the most bizarre relationship with him.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know how to explain it. I hate to use the term, but you've been almost an "enabler." You helped him cover up the post-murder, you came up with the idea of the glove, you helped him make money, you helped him hide the assets.
And then when you went public with us a couple years ago, you stopped talking. He stuck it to you about tax money. He's done it to you financially. He's used you, he's abused you. Then you have the showdown in the Vegas hotel.
Yet there's part of me that still thinks that you two would talk.
GILBERT: I think if we talked I would call him out on everything I know about him.
VAN SUSTEREN: But why don't you? You can pick up the phone and do that.
GILBERT: I tried. His numbers are changed.
Because I'm not--for the first time, I'm saying what I really believe and what I really feel. I am not confused by what O.J. wants me to think he is. I see what he really, truly is. And that's a murderer.
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