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Panel Thinks OJ's Friend 'Charlie' Isn't Real

In hypothetical description of killings, Simpson says a friend handed him the knife
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2018 11:20 AM CDT
Who's 'Charlie'? OJ Speaks of Friend on Night of Attack
In this June 15, 1995, file photo, OJ Simpson, left, grimaces as he tries tries to put on a leather glove during his murder trial.   (AP Photo/Sam Mircovich, Pool, File)

(Newser) – Fox aired its controversial OJ Simpson: The Lost Confession special Sunday night, featuring clips from an interview he gave back in 2006 to Judith Regan about how the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman might have happened. The interview never aired back then, in part because of public backlash. Fox's two-hour special included commentary from a panel discussing the case, and it put a focus on domestic violence. Details and reaction:

  • His own words: See a key portion of the interview here in which Simpson talks about the murders. He refers to a friend named "Charlie" being with him and handing him a knife.
  • The killings: Simpson talks about going to Nicole's house (on Charlie's suggestion) to confront her, and getting into an argument outside with Goldman, who arrived soon after. That drew out his ex-wife, per CBS. "As things got heated, I just remember Nicole fell and hurt herself and this guy (Goldman) kind of got into a karate thing. And I said, 'Well, you think you can kick my ass?' And I remember I grabbed the knife—I do remember that portion, taking a knife from Charlie—and to be honest after that I don't remember, except I'm standing there and there's all kind of stuff around," he said. He would clarify, "blood and stuff."

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  • Who's Charlie? The panel thinks Charlie is "just a voice inside his head," writes Noel Murray at the New York Times. "It's all very odd." Still, Simpson's description of the attack sounds anything but hypothetical, Murray adds. So was this "gripping or gross?" he asks, and his answer is both: Though exploitative at times, "it's better to have this interview out in the world, rather than locked away."
  • Darden's view: "I think he confessed to murder," said panelist Christopher Darden, who was one of the prosecutors in Simpson's trial, per the Washington Post. "He may try to describe it as a hypothetical, but of course, it becomes 'I'—'I did this,' 'I felt this,' 'I saw this,'" he said. “This notion of 'Charlie'—Charlie is OJ. This is no hypothetical; this is reality."
  • Boo: Kristen Baldwin at Entertainment Weekly hates the decision by Fox to air the interview (saying the network "[fell] off the human decency wagon") and thinks we learned little. It wasn't so much hypothetical as "incoherent," she writes. "Much like Geraldo Rivera's anticlimactic live opening of Al Capone's vault, there wasn't much there there."
  • 13 things: Decider ticks off 13 memorable parts of the special, including Simpson's downplaying of a domestic abuse incident.
  • No money for OJ: Simpson will not make any money off the airing of the interview, reports CNN. It notes that Fox stood to gain by airing the show against the ABC premiere of former Fox hit American Idol.
(Read more OJ Simpson stories.)

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