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What I Knew About O.J. Simpson’s Gloves



What I Knew About O.J. Simpson’s Gloves

Picture: VINCE BUCCI/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

It was 1991 and I used to be working at Carnegie Corridor as a private assistant. My six-month postgraduation student-loan grace interval was about to finish, so I wanted a second job ASAP.

My pal labored at a stylish Japanese restaurant referred to as Fujiyama-Mama on the east facet of Columbus Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Streets. He advised me there was a coat-checker place open. He was a mannequin, and I assumed it was a kind of eating places that solely employed attractive individuals. However I landed the gig.

An thrilling factor, for 22-year-old me, was the celeb site visitors on the restaurant. Certainly one of our regulars was O.J. Simpson. He was additionally the nicest celeb of all our clientele — to me, no less than. He realized my identify, requested me questions, listened to the solutions, and would circle again to topics talked about throughout earlier visits.

He advised me he had a spot on the Higher East Facet the place he would keep when he visited New York, particularly throughout soccer season, when he’d be on the East Coast to supply commentary throughout NFL video games. In chilly climate, he had a coat and gloves to test. Maybe it was as a result of we regularly engaged with one another no less than twice a go to (coat-checking, coat-retrieving), mixed with the truth that I used to be the one lady working within the restaurant, that Simpson was so good to me. He tipped me $5 to test his coat and gloves — fairly good right this moment however very beneficiant in 1991.

At times, Simpson would are available with males, however the majority of the time, he was clearly on a date, and he positively had a sort: attractive, tall, younger, and white — generally blonde, generally brunette.

There was one time when he got here in with a girl who, whereas nonetheless youthful, was a lot older than his typical dates. The workers whispered about Simpson being with an “older” lady. Once I was downstairs within the coatroom, I heard arguing within the corridor by the bogs. I glanced and noticed it was Simpson and his date. It was the one and solely time I noticed him within the restaurant with who I later realized was Nicole Brown.

The creator, heart, at Fujiyama-Mama restaurant with two colleagues within the early Nineties.
Picture: Robin Sayers

Regardless of his companion, he insisted on sitting on the sushi bar. The supervisor and the maître d’ would attempt to persuade Simpson that he’d be happier sitting within the again, in our unofficial VIP space. At first, I believed it is likely to be as a result of he loved watching our masterful sushi chef at work. Ultimately, I noticed he wished, and even wanted, to be acknowledged. Many occasions, a buyer would come to retrieve a coat and excitedly present me the autograph they’d gotten from him, full with the trademark smiley face. That form of interplay together with his followers wouldn’t occur if he sat within the again.

When the information of the murders broke, I used to be nonetheless working half time at Fujiyama-Mama. I defended Simpson to my mates. “I’m mates with O.J.,” I’d say. “You don’t know him like I do. There’s no method he might do such a factor.” After the slow-speed chase, I ended defending him, however I nonetheless had hassle believing he stabbed a person to loss of life and almost decapitated the mom of his kids.

The telephone name got here within the weeks after the murders. Certainly one of my bosses at Fujiyama-Mama advised me that somebody within the Los Angeles County District Lawyer’s Workplace wished to talk to me. Me? Why?!

My boss figured it out earlier than I did: It was as a result of I had checked the bloody gloves earlier than they have been bloody. They will need to have heard how steadily he visited Fujiyama-Mama. I spoke with a person whom I understood to be both a junior prosecutor or an investigator within the DA’s workplace. He posed no less than a dozen mundane questions earlier than lastly asking the query: Had I ever checked gloves for Mr. Simpson when he visited Fujiyama-Mama?

Sure, many occasions. Then he requested if I might describe the gloves, which I did — I overlook most prospects’ glove particulars, however Simpson was well-known and tipped me $5, so I remembered his gloves effectively. They have been both darkish brown or black. The person requested why I couldn’t definitively identify the colour. I stated that our coat-check space was darkish.

He will need to have spoken to the proprietor of the restaurant as a result of he knew, and advised me, that the room the place the coats have been saved was brightly lit. True. However the place the place a buyer passes the coat to the checker was dim, and the very first thing you do as a coat-checker is take the gloves and shove them in a pocket. By the point I acquired downstairs, any gloves have been out of sight, so I by no means noticed them below these unflattering fluorescent lights within the coatroom.

The person sounded upset. He requested me to name him again if I remembered extra after excited about it. Was he answer-shopping? I puzzled. Who is aware of, however he did name me again a few week later to ask if I remembered the rest, particularly the colour of the gloves. No, I didn’t.

The reality is, I used to be about 98 p.c sure that the gloves have been darkish brown — the colour all of us realized they certainly have been — however I wasn’t 100% optimistic, and I knew I couldn’t in good conscience, and below oath, say in any other case. I might have had no situation testifying so long as I might say I wasn’t assured concerning the colour — however that clearly was of no use to the prosecutors.

Often, I might have gotten over that 2 p.c doubt to be able to inject myself right into a drama, however thank goodness I didn’t do it on this occasion. As my boyfriend on the time stated, had I ended up on the stand they’d have “Dennis Fung’d me” — referring, in fact, to the LAPD crime-scene tech publicly eviscerated by the protection staff.

I’ve advised this story for almost three a long time. I now cringe at how insane I will need to have sounded defending O.J. Simpson within the days after the murders. Looking back, I each pity and envy my youthful self, who couldn’t fairly comprehend that actors act, narcissists exhibit superficial attraction, and sociopaths lie — and even kill — with ease.

As {a magazine} author, I went on to interview lots of of celebrities — actors, administrators, athletes, musicians, politicians. A part of what made me good on the job, is that I used to be by no means nervous round even the most important of stars. I might nonetheless be tremendously impressed by somebody’s expertise, however I by no means once more was starstruck. Perhaps that’s due to the double assassin I as soon as knew.

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