This is the fourth part of our multi-part series which aims to be the most comprehensive compilation of well-sourced, credible information about O.J. Simpson and domestic violence. Part four focuses on O.J. Simpson’s actions following the New Year’s Day 1989 incident.
O.J. Simpson and Domestic Violence: A Multi-Part Investigative Series.
Part 4: After ‘89
The New Year’s Day 1989 incident of domestic abuse between O.J. and Nicole Simpson was the focus of part two of this multi-part series on O.J. Simpson and domestic violence. As noted in part two of this series, a result of the January 1, 1989 incident, O.J. Simpson pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor charge of spousal battery in May 1994.
Judge Ronald Schoenberg sentenced O.J. Simpson to two years’ probation, 120 hours of community service, to pay a $200 fine, donate $500 to an organization for battered women, and continue to attend twice-weekly psychiatric counseling sessions. O.J. Simpson completed the terms of his sentencing to the satisfaction of Judge Schoenberg. In addition to the penalties placed on him by the justice system, O.J. Simpson took both personal and legally-binding actions to remedy his atrocious behavior on New Year’s Day 1989.
O.J.’s Personal Initiatives to Repent & Reform
Following the incident of abuse on New Year’s 1989, O.J. wanted to demonstrate to Nicole how sorry he was for committing an act of violence against her and share with her the things that he was doing to repent for his actions. Here O.J. Simpson describes his feelings following the incident:
Judge Schoenberg ordered O.J. Simpson to attend counseling sessions as part of his sentence, however O.J. actually had taken the initiative to begin counseling a week after the New Year’s Day 1989 incident and had been attending therapy for about six months before his no-contest plea:
The Three Notes
O.J. Simpson wrote three apologetic, remorseful notes to Nicole in the wake of the incident. As the Associated Press reported in February 1995 “Simpson suffers from dyslexia.” [Source:SIMPSON’S LOVE LETTERS TO NICOLE Associated Press in the Orlando Sentinel February 3, 1995]
For over 20 years author Jeffrey Toobin has ridiculed O.J. Simpson’s intellect, referring to him as “barely literate” in The Run of His Life Toobin has even questioned if O.J. Simpson was intelligent enough to attend the University of Southern California.
Unfortunately, Jeffrey Toobin does not have any idea what dyslexia is and should have done some research before citing Mr. Simpson’s intellect as inferior.
Dyslexia is an affliction that causes men and women to have poor spelling and grammar. (This is just one of the symptoms.)
Does Toobin know that dyslexia affects one out of every four children in the United States (75 percent of whom are boys)?
It does not in any way mean that a person afflicted with this disability has poor academic abilities.
Most people with dyslexia have an intelligence quotient well above average, and with some tutoring and a different way of learning, they can lead productive lives with no problems at all.
A couple of well-known people who suffered from dyslexia are Albert Einstein and Woodrow Wilson. Would Jeffrey Toobin have the gall to refer to either of those men as “barely literate”?
These are the three notes, with minor spelling and grammar corrections, written by O.J. to Nicole following the January 1, 1989 incident which were published by the Associated Press on February 3, 1995:
Let me start by expressing to you how wrong I was for hurting you. There is no acceptable excuse for what I did.
As I sit here writing this I keep asking myself how did this happen. We’ve been better together than ever lately. I was so proud of how good you looked New Year night, and couldn’t wait to get you home to make love to you.
I believe when the clock reached midnight and we kissed that we’d come back from any past problem we’d had and were totally in love! For the last few years I have lived my life in a manner that I hope would make you happy and sicerr with me. I’ve never been happier or more content with my life both personally or business wise.
I guess it’s because I’ve never felt so good about myself and family. I am so proud how you got involved with Sydney’s school and the picnic we hosted I love the way you’ve worked with our kids and taken the responsibility of raising them. I love seeing you happy and excited about doing things with me. I feel that after 12 years together we’ve come to the realization that we’ve been blessed.
As we drove home New Years night I felt great about everything and have never been more in love with you.
Thinking and trying to realize how I got so crazy?
Nicole I love you more than ever as I watched you at the party, I had such emotional feeling towards you that were as high as any I’ve ever felt. It must be because of those feelings that I reacted so emotionally. I’m not going to blame being drunk that’s no excuse.
(But I have decided to stop drinking and will go to A.A. with Allen S.)
I do know if I wasn’t at this all-time high about you, your look, Sydney, Justin even Arnelle and Jason. About our outlook on the New Year and all we have to look forward to and a sense of pride in myself about how I’ve gotten my life and family so together all of this all of these feeling were running so high that all I wanted to do was make love to you and express to you how proud I was you were my wife. With all of that running in me, I just didn’t react to well.
I just want to be with you.
Well, it seems that the worst part is behind us. I want you to know that whatever you might think to the contrary I’ve taken full responsibility for this. It happen and I’m doing everything possible to assure it doesn’t happen again. But sooner or later we must start with our future. I love our time last weekend. I know to you it may not have been much, but it showed we can get along.
I love you and losing you is the only thing that matters to me.
So let’s not forget the past. Let’s work together (for the first time) to improve the future lives together. No matter what I love you.
Ever since the other night whatever I do keeps turning out wrong. I haven’t been able to sleep so I guess it has impaired my judgement.
I want you to know I’m not trying to buy my way out of what I did. The detective that spoke to me made it clear, I’ll have to deal with the law for my action of the other night and its now on my record, so if it ever happens again I would face a mandatory jail term. I know you’ve gone thru a lot over the years but, thanks to you I believe we’re on the verge of having one perfect marriage. I know that may sound crazy after the other night, but I can’t believe there were many people as happy as we were leading up to this New Year.
We have two healthy great kids. We also have an unlimited future, I only hope I didn’t screw it up with this crazy drunken incident. I’ve never been more disappointed in myself than I am now.
But I know how great our lives had become leading up to Sat. night and believe if given the chance this will be our finest year ever.
A Self-Imposed Legal Remedy
Following the January 1, 1989 incident of domestic abuse, O.J. was so distraught and upset by the fact that he had physically harmed Nicole that, in addition to almost immediately starting therapy, O.J. had his attorney Skip Taft create a legally binding document stating if he ever again touches Nicole Brown Simpson in anger, strikes her, does anything of the sort, their prenuptial agreement is null and void. O.J. Simpson signed this legally binding document. Nicole had not requested this, O.J did it not only to say he was sorry, but to say he was responsible. In many ways O.J. created a legally binding system of checks and balances on himself.
When O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown were married in 1985 the couple signed a prenuptial agreement. The terms of their prenuptial agreement allowed each to keep their own property in the event of a divorce. Nicole was very hesitant to agree to a prenuptial agreement but O.J. eventually convinced her. Testifying in the civil trial O.J. explained the reason he wanted a prenuptial agreement:
The terms of the prenuptial agreement that O.J. and Nicole signed in 1985 were essentially that any wealth, possessions and property each person had at the time of the marriage was untouchable in the event of a divorce. Only wealth, possessions and property attained during the marriage would be divided in the event of a divorce.
The prenuptial agreement superseded the divorce laws of the State of California states that all property that was acquired during the marriage will be divided equally (50-50) by the court if the parties are not able to come to an agreement.
For the purpose of division of property on dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form, including property held in tenancy in common, joint tenancy, or tenancy by the entirety, or as community property, is presumed to be community property.
Without a prenuptial agreement,California law would have entitled Nicole to half of O.J.’s finances and property.
However the prenuptial agreement the couple signed was clear: what you owned prior to marriage was untouchable in divorce.
If O.J. had physically abused Nicole after the January 1, 1989 incident, the addendum to the prenuptial agreement would have been enacted and Nicole would have been entitled to a settlement of more than 5 million dollars. This would have certainly caused O.J. to have to sell his pride and joy — his Rockingham estate. Although he is a shady character, Mike Gilbert (pictured),the man who booked O.J. for appearances to sign autographs at card shows explains the importance of Rockingham to O.J.:
The crowning jewel of O.J.’s earthly possessions was Rockingham, the opulent, sprawling home he’d lived in since 1977. Rockingham was a huge part of O.J.’s life. He had always loved that house more than just about anything. He’d lived there with both of his wives, and raised two families there. He lived there though the best times of his life, and the worst. We never thought of it as “O.J.’s house” It was “Rockingham”; just like Elvis’ house was Graceland.
Dr. Lenore Walker, the trailblazing researcher who in the 1970’s first identified the cycle of violence known as the Battered Woman Syndrome, spent more than 40 hours evaluating O.J. Simpson while he was being held awaiting trial in late-1994 and early-1995. In her report, Dr. Walker mentions the addendum O.J. made to his prenuptial agreement after the ’89 incident:
The New Year’s Eve beating in 1989 frightened Simpson, the doctor explained. He was shocked by his capacity for violence. And he knew that as a black man, he faced double condemnation, first as a batterer, second because he had beaten a white woman. This might destroy his career as a pitchman. His offer to tear up the prenuptial agreement if he beat her again wasn’t aimed at reassuring her. He was setting up a penalty system for himself. Now a failure to check his violent impulses could cost him millions in a divorce. O.J. wrote that letter as much for himself as for Nicole.– Dr. Lenore Walker’s Evaluation of O.J. Simpson. Published in the book American Tragedy by Lawrence Schiller.
O.J. and Nicole Divorce
Mrs. Simpson filed for divorce on Feb. 25, 1992; the divorce became final Oct. 15 that year. The court documents offer a window into their relationship. “By the time I was 19 years of age, we were living together most of the time,” Mrs. Simpson said in her filing. “I traveled back and forth between Los Angeles and San Francisco to be with him. I only attended junior college a very short time because respondent required me to be available to travel with him whenever his career required him to go to a new location, even if it was for a short period of time.”
She continued: “I have had no other college education, and I hold no college degrees. I worked as a waitress for two months. Prior to that, I was a sales clerk in a boutique. These two jobs are the sum total of my employment experience. I worked on my own as an interior decorator, mostly for respondent and his friends. I no longer have that opportunity.”
She described their lavish life style. “We had a full staff to assist us,” she said in her filing. “The house was extensively remodeled a few years ago, and no expense was spared to update and modernize the kitchen, pool and other amenities.” Every year they traveled to Hawaii, she said.
They had an apartment in New York. Back in Brentwood, she had a nutritionist and a personal trainer.
Mrs. Simpson won a $433,000 settlement, as well as $10,000 a month child support. He said he couldn’t pay more because he was saddled with the costs of supporting his mother and his two adult children, among others.
The settlement was consistent with a prenuptial agreement Mr. Simpson had signed [in 1985] after a seven-month negotiation over the terms.
At no time in the divorce proceedings did Nicole allege any domestic abuse other than the 1989 incident and did not make any allegations which would void the prenuptial agreement. If Nicole had testified about an incident of domestic violence committed by O.J. after January 1, 1989 she would have been entitled to half of his 10 million dollar fortune; but Nicole never claimed that O.J. touched her in anger, hit her or anything of the sort between New Year’s Day 1989 and the date their divorce were filed. So one can logically conclude that either O.J. Simpson did not commit additional acts of violence against Nicole between January 1, 1989 until their divorce was finalized on October 15, 1992 or Nicole did not want 5 million dollars.
This is the fourth part of a multi-part series investigating O.J. Simpson’s History of Domestic Violence. In Part 5 we will examine the 911 call Nicole made on October 23, 1993 and what Nicole told LAPD Sargent Craig Lally, who responded to the incident, about incidents of domestic violence against her by O.J. Simpson between January 1, 1989 – October 23, 1993 (Nicole’s comments captured on audio tape via a surreptitious recording by Sgt. Craig Lally).
Part 5 will include the never before heard complete, unedited audio of the 911 call which has been digitally restored to allow almost all of the comments made in the background by O.J. Simpson to be heard for the first time ever.
Part 3 of this series examined the suggestion that LAPD responded to eight incidents of domestic abuse prior to January 1, 1989, here is O.J. Simpson’s response to Goldman family attorney Daniel Petrocelli’s question about it during a deposition prior to the civil trial: