In wide-ranging testimony in the wrongful death lawsuits against him, O.J. Simpson responded for the first time under oath to questions put to him by attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who is representing the father of murder victim Ronald L. Goldman. The initial phase of the deposition was conducted from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26. It is scheduled to resume Feb. 19, with further questions from Petrocelli and from lawyers representing Goldman's mother, Sharon Rufo, and the estate of the late Nicole Brown Simpson. Here are some excerpts:
ON NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON
Q: [Right after the killings] were you feeling you were being attacked in the sense that you believed the press was pointing the finger at you as the person who killed Nicole?
A: My pain was for Nicole more than what they [the media] were doing. That was just all a part of it.
Q: The loss of Nicole?
Q: You loved her?
A: Very much.
Q: And you loved her on June 12?
A: I loved her. Yeah. I didn't want to live with her, but I loved her, yes.
Q: How was she acting differently [in the months before the killings]?
A: Well, she was just not herself. She was a different person every time I talked to her. When I was in Puerto Rico, she seemed to be having a nervous breakdown; she even said she was, and I suspected it was drinking. I had hoped it wasn't pills or drugs, which I knew her friends were involved in, and I was hoping and still hope to this day that she wasn't involved in that.
Q: And how did these problems manifest themselves in her behavior toward you?
A: She was erratic. She was--from day to day I didn't know who she was. Then it didn't matter to me because I got out of the relationship.
ON RON GOLDMAN
Q: Did you ever meet Ron Goldman?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: Did you ever see Ron Goldman?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: Did you ever hear Ron Goldman's name mentioned prior to his death?
A: No, not that I know of.
Q: Did the name Ron Goldman mean anything to you prior to his death?
THE NIGHT OF THE MURDERS
Q: From what location in your Rockingham property did you hit those golf balls?
A: My front yard.
Q: What time was it when you did that?
A: I believe it was around or a little after 10 o'clock.
Q: What fixes that time in your mind?
A: Nothing in particular, except that I knew I was back from having a burger, and then I just know when I got upstairs--it wasn't but 15 or 20 after 10 by the time I got upstairs, so I knew it had to--and other than turning lights out in my house, I can't imagine--I don't recall doing anything else before I got upstairs.
Q: Do you know if any of those golf balls that you said you were chipping around the yard were ever retrieved by anybody?
A: I believe so, yes.
Q: Who retrieved them?
A: I believe LAPD.
Q: Did you ever request that they be brought to court?
PHONE CALLS IN CHICAGO
Q. Tell me about the first call you got from--after you woke up.
A: The police called. . . . They asked who I was. He--I don't know if he prefaced it. He said my kids were all right. 'First let me tell you your kids are all right.' And I think he said he had bad news for me, or words to that effect, and he said, 'Your wife was murdered'--may have said 'killed'--'last night' or 'Your wife was killed.' He may not have said 'last night.' But 'Your wife was murdered' or 'Your wife was killed--had been killed.' And I got up, sat up, and I tried to make sense of it, and I asked what--you know, essentially what did he mean. I didn't get it. It was just hard to digest. And he started telling me that there was nothing he could tell me. 'We're trying to find out' and he gave me a whole line of they didn't know anything.
Q: What did you do after that call?
A: I started getting dressed. I may have called [assistant] Cathy [Randa] immediately to get me a flight out. . . . I started getting dressed, and I started calling airlines myself, too.
I started trying to get dressed, and I started going back and forth to the phone. . . . I called Nicole's house, I believe.
Q: Who answered?
A: I believe I spoke to a police officer.
Q: Did you ask what had happened to Nicole?
A: Everyone that I spoke to, I asked that, and they all kept saying that . . . they didn't know, they were investigating, and there was nothing they could tell me.
Q: Did you call Louis Brown?
A: I may have.
Q: You called his home?
Q: Who answered?
A: Denise Brown.
Q: What did she say?
A: She started screaming.
Q: Screaming at you?
Q: What was she saying?
A: I don't know. She was just yelling.
Q: Was she saying, 'You killed her?'
A: I didn't hear that.
Q: Was she saying words to the effect that you were responsible for Nicole's death?
A: She might have.
Q: What did you say to her?
A: She hung up.
Q: Why would you call Kato Kaelin within an hour of finding out that your wife has been murdered?
A: Because he was at my home. He had talked about some noises the night before. He was at my home.
Q: When he talked about those noises, you were concerned that he might know something about the murder?
A: What he might have found. I don't know.