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Surprise letter: Nicole wrote O.J. Simpson ‘beat holy hell’ out of her

January 14, 1997 GMT

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Nicole Brown Simpson wrote that O.J. Simpson ``beat the holy hell out of me,″ in a letter introduced Monday in a surprise attack by plaintiffs at Simpson’s wrongful death trial.

Simpson said during cross-examination he believed the letter was pre-divorce maneuvering, and his lawyer said it was never delivered.

On another matter, Simpson dismissed 30 new photos of himself in incriminating shoes, saying he didn’t recognize the shoes as any he ever owned. He left the witness stand after once more denying he slashed Ms. Simpson and Ronald Goldman to death.

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The letter incited some of the angriest arguments of recent days between plaintiff and defense lawyers, and Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki at first waffled on whether it should be admitted at all. It is undated and defense attorney Robert Baker said it was never delivered to Simpson.

Only portions of the eight-page letter were read in court. Jurors will have the option of reading it for themselves during deliberations.

Fujisaki warned the jurors, though that the letter could be used only to understand the victim’s state of mind. Baker said it shouldn’t be allowed.

In one part read aloud, Ms. Simpson recounted arguments by the often-battling couple.

``O.J., I think I have to put this all in a letter,″ she wrote. ``I’d like you to keep this letter if we split. ... I’d also like you to keep it if we stay together as a reminder.″

Questioned by plaintiff attorney Daniel Petrocelli, Simpson testified he never saw the letter until he was in jail after being charged with murder.

Simpson was acquitted on criminal charges in October 1995, but families of the victims believe he was to blame and sued him for wrongful death.

Simpson said he believed the letter was written at the behest of Ms. Simpson’s lawyers in the months leading to their divorce in 1992, and was intended to force him to tear up their prenuptial agreement.

A part of the letter that wasn’t read to jurors referred to a September 1986 incident in which Ms. Simpson was treated at a hospital.

``You beat the holy hell out of me and we lied at the X-ray lab and said I fell off a bike. ... Remember!??″ the letter said.

Ms. Simpson also referred to ``the New Year’s Eve beat-up,″ a reference to a 1989 fight that brought police to Simpson’s estate and led to him pleading no-contest to spousal battery.

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``I called the cops to save my life, whether you believe it or not,″ she wrote.

The letter concluded, ``I’ve never loved you since or been the same.″

Petrocelli said the letter explains Ms. Simpson’s conduct and feelings about the relationship. He said he was using it to rebut Simpson’s claim that he had rejected Ms. Simpson rather than vice versa.

Simpson, pressed repeatedly by Petrocelli about his unfaithfulness, admitted he had a one-year affair with actress Tawny Kitaen and said he later told his ex-wife about it when they split up. But he insisted there was no animosity between them just before she was killed in June 1994.

Simpson also testified about 30 new photos appearing to show him in Bruno Magli shoes of a type that left bloody footprints at the killing scene. He said: ``I don’t recall owning shoes like that ever.″

Right before he left the stand, his own lawyer asked him directly about the killings.

``On June 12, 1994, did you with the children in the house upstairs in the bedroom murder your ex-wife and leave her body where the kids could find it?″

``No, absolutely not,″ Simpson said.

It was Simpson’s second day on the stand, with his lawyer trying to undo the damage caused when he was questioned by the plaintiffs’ side in November. The defense was expected to rest its case Tuesday after testimony from Simpson’s grown daughter, Arnelle.

Simpson testified he was ashamed to say he contemplated suicide after his ex-wife’s slaying. While he acknowledged cheating on his wife, he denied that makes him a liar.

``You have lied repeatedly, haven’t you?″ asked plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Petrocelli.

``No,″ said Simpson.

``In the course of your relationship with Nicole, you were unfaithful to her?″ Petrocelli asked the former football star.

``From time to time, yes,″ said Simpson.

``And that was dishonest?″ Petrocelli asked.

``I think morally, yes,″ Simpson replied.

``That was a lie, wasn’t it?″ the attorney pressed.

``I think morally, it was dishonest. I don’t know if I would characterize it as a lie,″ Simpson answered.

Simpson was composed until he began to talk about his children. He said his first questions to police after the killings included an inquiry about whether his children had seen their mother’s body.

``I wanted to know if my kids had been exposed to anything,″ he said in a voice thick with emotion. Police assured him they had seen nothing and had been taken out a back door of the condominium, he said.

Simpson also choked up as he spoke of his distraught Bronco ride on June 17, 1994, with his friend Al Cowlings at the wheel.

``I was in a lot of pain. I was missing Nicole, and my kids didn’t cry. I guess they (other people) had attacked me somewhat and that hurt me and I just didn’t know what to do,″ Simpson said.

``I asked him to take me to Nicole’s grave. I was feeling a lot of pain and I wanted to go Nicole’s grave. I just felt I guess suicidal.″