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NVC 50: OJ Simpson Interrogation Part One

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This interrogation of OJ Simpson was conducted by Philip Vannatter and Thomas Lange, the Los Angeles Police Department’s chief investigators of the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. You can see why asking yes or no questions yields you little to no information to confirm or dispel suspicion. Look at all the yes or no answers. Think about how much better Vannatter or Lange could have asked better, structured questions and how it would have forced OJ do give more detail that may have yielded contradictions or inconsistencies.

Vannatter: …my partner, Detective Lange, and we’re in an interview room in Parker Center. The date is June 13th, 1994, and the time is 13:35 hours. And we’re here with O.J. Simpson. Is that Orenthal James Simpson?
Simpson: Orenthal James Simpson
Vannatter: And what is your birthdate, Mr. Simpson?
Simpson: July 9th, 1947.
Vannatter: OK. Prior to us talking to you, as we agreed with your attorney, I’m going to give you your constitutional rights. And I would like you to listen carefully. If you don’t understand anything, tell me, OK?
Simpson: All right
Vannatter: OK. Mr. Simpson, you have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present during the questioning. If you so desire and cannot afford one, an attorney will be appointed for you without charge before questioning. Do you understand your rights?
Simpson: Yes, I do.
Vannatter: Are there any questions about that?
Simpson: (unintelligible)
Vannatter: OK, you’ve got to speak up louder than that…
Simpson: OK, no.
Vannatter: OK, do you wish to give up your right to remain silent and talk to us?
Simpson: Ah, yes.
Vannatter: OK, and you give up your right to have an attorney present while we talk?
Simpson: Mmm hmm. Yes.
Vannatter: OK. All right, what we’re gonna do is, we want to…We’re investigating, obviously, the death of your ex-wife and another man. Lange: Someone told us that.
Vannatter: Yeah, and we’re going to need to talk to you about that. Are you divorced from her now?
Simpson: Yes.
Vannatter: How long have you been divorced?
Simpson: Officially? Probably close to two years, but we’ve been apart for a little over two years.
Vannatter: Have you?
Simpson: Yeah.
Vannatter: What was your relationship with her? What was the…
Simpson: Well, we tried to get back together, and it just didn’t work. It wasn’t working, and so we were going our separate ways.
Vannatter: Recently you tried to get back together?
Simpson: We tried to get back together for about a year, you know, where we started dating each other and seeing each other. She came back and wanted us to get back together, and…
Vannatter: Within the last year, you’re talking about?
Simpson: She came back about a year and four months ago about us trying to get back together, and we gave it a shot. We gave it a shot the better part of a year. And I think we both knew it wasn’t working, and probably three weeks ago or so, we said it just wasn’t working, and we went our separate ways.
Vannatter: OK, the two children are yours?
Simpson: Yes.
Lange: She have custody?
Simpson: We have joint custody.
Lange: Through the courts?
Simpson: We went through the courts and everything. Everything is done. We have no problems with the kids, we do everything together, you know, with the kids.
Vannatter: How was your separation? What that a…?
Simpson: The first separation?
Vannatter: And she made a police report on those two occasions?
Simpson: Mmm hmm. And I stayed right there until the police came, talked to them.
Lange: Were you arrested at one time for something?

 

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