Nicole Brown Simpson’s weeping mother testified Friday that O.J. Simpson leaned over his ex-wife’s coffin at her wake, kissed her on the lips and murmured, “I’m so sorry, Nicki. I’m so sorry.”
Juditha Brown said she followed her former son-in-law and confronted him: “Did you have anything to do with this?”
“He said, ‘I loved your daughter,”’ she testified.
On cross-examination, Simpson’s lawyer quickly showed a videotape of Brown in a 1994 TV interview in which she gave the same account but quoted Simpson as answering the question: “No, I loved your daughter.”
Attorney Robert Baker suggested she had dropped the word “No” to omit Simpson’s denial that he killed his ex-wife.
In the most emotional testimony of the civil wrongful death trial, Brown frequently burst into tears and wiped her eyes with tissues. In the audience, her husband Lou and daughter Denise dabbed at their eyes.
Her testimony ended the court session Friday, leaving one final witness for a potentially emotional finale Monday - Fred Goldman, father of Ronald Goldman, who was slain with Nicole Simpson June 12, 1994.
Acquitted of murder charges, Simpson is being sued by the victims’ families, who seek vindication and potentially millions of dollars in damages.
Under questioning by attorney John Q. Kelly, Brown recalled a phone conversation with Simpson three weeks before his ex-wife was slain.
“He said, ‘She may not love me anymore,’ and I said, ‘Well, then go on with your life.’ He said, ‘I’ll tell you, the first time when she left me I took the blame - it was my fault. But the second time, it’s going to hurt.”’
She said she didn’t speak to him or see him again until his daughter’s dance recital on the day of the killings.
That evening, Brown said, her former son-in-law was in a foul mood.
“He was angry,” she said. “I looked back at one time. He had Justin on his lap and he was very angry.”
As she spoke, Brown glared across the courtroom at Simpson, who occasionally shook his head at her descriptions.
She was asked if Simpson ever laughed or smiled that evening. She said he did not.
“He seemed nervous and angry. He seemed upset,” she said.
When it came his turn, Baker showed a videotape of Simpson outside the recital receiving a kiss from Brown and laughing with his former father-in-law.
“That’s you there kissing O.J.?” asked Baker.
“Yes,” said Brown, and acknowledged Simpson was laughing.
“And is it your testimony Simpson was angry?” asked Baker.
“Mr. Simpson was angry, yes, he was very angry,” she said.
Kelly, who represents the estate of Nicole Simpson in the wrongful death action, also showed Brown a now-famous picture of Simpson with his daughter smiling broadly after the recital.
“Do you see Mr. Simpson smiling in that photo?” asked Kelly.
“Yeah, there’s a camera,” Brown said derisively.
She was moved to tears when she related her last moments with her daughter, and the aftermath of the killing.
She said the family went to Mezzaluna restaurant in trendy Brentwood for dinner, that Simpson was not invited for the first time to such a gathering, and she bid farewell to her daughter as she went across the street with her children for ice cream.
“For some reason I turned and looked back at her. And I saw her walking and I was thinking, ‘What a gorgeous girl with great legs.’ … That was the last time I saw her alive,” she sobbed.
On the way home, Brown said, she realized she had lost her glasses and felt a “terrible depression” - which she feels was a premonition.
“My whole body got heavy. I’ve never had it before or after. I shook myself and I said, ‘I can buy a pair of new glasses. What’s wrong with me?”’
From home, she said, she called her daughter and asked her to retrieve the glasses the next day. She said her daughter suggested that a friend at the restaurant could bring them to her.
“And then she said, ‘Good night’ and ‘I love you.’ And I said, ‘I love you,’ and those were the last words,”’ Brown said weeping.