Simpson Agrees to Wednesday Interview; Juror Wants to Sell Journal
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ O.J. Simpson will give his first extensive interview since his acquittal to his former employer, NBC. The live, no-holds-barred, no-pay discussion will air Wednesday night.
Simpson will be interviewed for about an hour on Wednesday by Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric on ``Dateline NBC,″ and the segment will be commercial-free, Brokaw said Monday night on ``NBC Nightly News.″
The interview will air around around 9 p.m. EDT Wednesday, in the middle of a special three-hour broadcast. Simpson spoke briefly by phone on CNN’s ``Larry King Live″ last week.
NBC News President Andrew Lack negotiated by phone over the weekend with Simpson’s representatives and then with Simpson himself to secure the interview. The network said it agreed to no preconditions.
Simpson, 48, was acquitted last week in the June 12, 1994, knife slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Several jurors later said the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
One juror, David Aldana, an East Los Angeles truck driver, kept a journal throughout the trial and is trying to sell the material for a book or movie, his attorney, Gary Brown, said Monday.
``We are entertaining offers in that area. He has an interest in telling his story,″ Brown said.
Meantime, sources told The Associated Press that Simpson’s girlfriend, Paula Barbieri, has been at home in Florida and not off marrying Simpson in the Dominican Republic, as a newspaper in that country reported.
Simpson attorney Carl Douglas also denied as ``totally false″ the wedding report in Listin Diario, the same paper that accurately reported the wedding of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley.
Brown declined to reveal what his client’s journal contains, but said he was certain Aldana didn’t violate the judge’s admonition not to form any opinions about the case until deliberations began.
``He did follow the rules and instructions,″ Brown said.
Aldana, Juror No. 4, is the first of the final 12 jurors and two alternates known to have kept a journal, a precarious practice that could open him up to a juror misconduct probe.
``He maintained a personal diary for the very simple reason that he spent virtually eight months alone and was not allowed to talk to anybody about things that were personal to him,″ Brown said.
Ousted juror Tracy Kennedy kept a journal, but he was dismissed March 17 for allegedly lying to Judge Lance Ito about keeping a list of the anonymous jurors’ names, which were found in Kennedy’s computer bag.
Brown said the journal would go into a book, film or documentary that would put a human face on the jury process and to help dispel misconceptions about the Simpson jury. For instance, Aldana will show that despite the quick deliberations, the verdicts didn’t result from racial feelings, he said.
Aldana, a 34-year-old Hispanic, was one of only three non-black jurors who decided Simpson’s fate. Two others are white, and the remaining nine are black.
Aldana has not spoken out publicly about the case and Brown said he would not speak to The Associated Press. He also said Aldana is not trying to make quick buck.
``Some people will always say that someone should not accept money,″ Brown said. ``The real question is whether money is changing them, or changing the story at all.″
Some cable TV operators and viewers were rebelling at the idea of a pay-per-view interview that could have netted Simpson millions of dollars. Major pay-TV distributor Request TV refused to carry such a program, as had CNN, and others were retreating from the idea.
NBC said that while no commercials will run during the Simpson interview, advertising rates for the rest of the show are at their regular levels.
``NBC will not profit from this interview,″ said NBC News spokeswoman Beth Comstock.
Simpson has long had ties to NBC. In addition to serving as a network football commentator, he counted among his supporters Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC West Coast, who visited the former football star in jail.
``I think that his decision to speak with NBC certainly reflects his belief that they’ve been fair in their coverage of the case,″ Douglas said.
``Some measure can be attributed to loyalty to the home of his former employer,″ he said. ``And he was grateful that some of the upper executives at NBC were steadfast in his support and their belief in his innocence.″