O.J. Simpson might not testify in his murder trial, but he has spoken volumes - 500,000 volumes in the first press run alone. His jailhouse book reached stores Friday, shipped in secrecy. The book is “I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions,” hardcover, 208 pages, $17.95.
Simpson says he is an innocent man in terrible pain, his grief alleviated by the swollen bundles of letters stuffed into his 5-by-8-foot jail cell.
“I want to state unequivocally that I did not commit these horrible crimes. I loved Nicole, I could never do such a thing,” he writes after reprinting a letter from someone calling him a “scumbag and coward.”
“How can anybody say I could kill this woman?” Simpson goes on. “Don’t they understand that I’d jump in front of a bullet for Nicole? … Trust me, I never would have taken Nicole from our two little children.”
And: “I wonder sometimes what Nicole was thinking at the end. I think now about what must have been going through her head when she realized what was about to happen to her, oh man.”
Simpson has spoken, literally. He has provided the voice narration of his own book, speaking into a tape recorder hung by a paper clip on the glass partition in the visiting cubicle at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. The audiocassette version of “I Want to Tell You” is $9.99, from Time Warner AudioBooks. His voice is strong and clear, but somber, and has the telltale echo of a man in a confined space with hard surfaces.
Regardless of whether it’s the heartfelt plea of a wrongfully accused man or the self-serving multimedia lie of a killer, the book is the latest sensational twist in a case where the sensational has become the mundane. The author states he will use the proceeds from the book - including an advance reported to be $1 million - to help pay for his defense.
Little, Brown and Co. publicists have said the release of the book was not timed for the start of the trial.
The book is not likely to have any impact in court. Legally it is considered hearsay, the same as the numerous diary entries by Nicole Brown Simpson saying that Simpson was stalking her and that she feared he’d kill her.
The defense can’t use the book in any way, but the prosecution could use it against Simpson if there was anything in the book that contradicted defense testimony, says Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola University Law School.
“I Want to Tell You” may turn out to be Simpson’s only testimony about the murders. Simpson’s lawyers have said that Simpson wants to testify but they’ve hedged on whether they will call him to the witness stand.