O.J. Confesses. Really.
The ghostwriter of If I Did It calls Simpson "a murderer."
What are these "hypothetical" and previously unrevealed eyewitness details? One is simply a matter of tone. The chapter about how the murder happened, Miller writes, contains
the classic language of a wife abuser. In his crude, expletive-laced account, Simpson suggests Nicole all but drove him to kill her. She is taunting him with her sexual dalliances, he says, and carrying on inappropriately in front of their two children.
Now tell me something: Would a writer-for-hire take it upon himself to inject a hateful tone into a narrative about the author of record's murdered ex-wife? Or would that ghostwriter borrow much of the author of record's own language to make sure that nobody missed Simpson's pathological rage? When I asked Fenjves whether he'd picked up Simpson's own language to establish the book's tone, he answered, "That's my job."
Newsweek's Miller goes on to write that the chapter describes Simpson getting ticked off at Nicole at his daughter's dance recital, and driving over to her house in his famous white Bronco. He brings a knife that he keeps in the car to ward off "crazies," enters Nicole's yard through a broken gate, encounters Goldman, and flies into a jealous rage when the Akita trots up and greets Goldman with a friendly wag of the tail. "You've been here before," Simpson screams. Nicole lunges at Simpson, slips, and falls, cracking her head on the ground. This last detail strikes me as implausible, but only as a description of something that happened; it sounds exactly like what a known wife-abuser would tell himself and others—particularly his children—to avoid admitting that he struck first with a heavy blow.
Goldman assumed a karate stance, according to Miller's description. "Then," Simpson/Fenjves writes discreetly, "something went horribly wrong, and I know what happened, but I can't tell you exactly how." Note the absence of the subjunctive tense. An additional intriguing detail is that a friend of Simpson's, whom Simpson/Fenjves calls "Charlie," was with Simpson in Nicole's yard. After a passage about disposing the knife and his bloody clothes—Miller is vague here, presumably because the authors are, too—Simpson/Fenjves goes into defense-attorney mode and writes that he is "absolutely 100 percent not guilty."
That Simpson ever suggested this project—the idea was Simpson's, Fenjves says, not Regan's—makes me conclude that a killer is coming apart at the seams. Before he got involved, Fenjves told me, there "was talk he was going to do this as a straight confession." A working title for the book at one point was not If I Did It, but I Did It. The title was suggested not by Regan, but by Simpson. What do you have to do in this country to get yourself thrown in jail?
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.
Photograph of O.J. Simpson by Pool Photo/Getty Images.