Simpson Book Hits Stores
NEW YORK (AP) _ O.J. Simpson says in his new book he would ``jump in front of a bullet″ to protect the ex-wife he is accused of killing.
``I wonder what Nicole was thinking at the end,″ he writes in ``I Want to Tell You,″ which arrived in stores today. ``I think now about what must have been going through her head when she realized what was about to happen to her.″
``How could anybody say I killed this woman?″ said Simpson, who is charged with the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. ``How can anybody say that? Don’t they understand that I’d jump in front of a bullet for Nicole?″
Simpson also expressed sympathy for Goldman’s family, writing, ``I feel his family’s hurt and pain; but I had nothing to do with his death.
``To me he is like the unknown soldier, courageous.″
The book was published by Little, Brown & Company, with a first printing of 500,000. An audiocassette, with a subdued-sounding Simpson reading sections dictated into a tape recorder, was released today by Time Warner AudioBooks.
Little, Brown denied reports the release of the book was timed to coincide with the opening of the Simpson trial. It would not confirm reports Simpson received a $1 million advance.
Many stores expressed reservations about the book.
Paulette Hutt, manager of the Paperback Booksmith in Sarasota, Fla., said profits would be donated to a local women’s shelter. Kathryn Bullington, owner of Your Local Bookie in Naples, Fla., said proceeds will go to a fund for the two children of Simpson and his late ex-wife.
``I find the purpose of the book distasteful,″ said Bullington, who added she collected more than 400 signatures protesting the book.
``If Jeffrey Dahmer had run out of money for his defense team, this country would have been outraged, but becuase O.J. is a star, there is a double standard.″
Much of the book alternates between letters to Simpson and his responses. One reader, Tracie Bechke of Cleveland, wrote that she and her ex-husband had a similar relationship to Simpson and his ex-wife.
``I said a lot of the same things to the police as Nicole did,″ she wrote. ``But what I didn’t confess, and I believe is the same in your situation, is that I was much to blame for the disturbance.″
Several pages of family photographs are included. In one picture, Simpson’s son, Jason, is wearing an Los Angeles Police Department cap.
``This picture was taken at my Rockingham home,″ Simpson wrote, ``back when I supported the LAPD.″
In another part of the book, Simpson attacks Faye Resnick, a friend of his former wife’s whose own book blames Simpson for her death.
``I know in my heart that the answer to the deaths of Nicole and Mr. Goldman lies somewhere in the world Faye Resnick inhabited,″ he writes. He didn’t elaborate, but Resnick has acknowledge having a drug problem.
Lawrence Schiller, who collaborated on Norman Mailer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ``Executioner’s Song,″ reportedly met with Simpson frequently at the jail to work on ``I Want to Tell You.″
In the book, Simpson says he needed to raise money for legal fees and that he wanted to respond to the more than 300,000 letters and cards he has received since his arrest.
On Jan. 18, Superior Court Judge Lance Ito severely restricted Simpson’s jail visitation privileges after the Sheriff’s Department complained Schiller met Simpson in a room reserved for attorneys and material witnesses.
California recently adopted a law that prevents criminals from profiting from their crimes, but Schiller has said he understands that even if Simpson is convicted the law would not apply to him. It does not apply to contracts signed in 1994, Schiller said.
The hardcover book, subtitled ``My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions,″ is on sale for $17.95.