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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

O.J. Tells Public He's Not Guilty

LOS ANGELES -- Eighteen months after he was grilled by the Los Angeles Police Department about a grim double-homicide in Brentwood, California, O.J. Simpson discussed the case publicly for the first time Wednesday, but deflected gentle questions about the murders and finished the 60-minute session without addressing the case's lingering mysteries.

"I did not commit these murders," Simpson said at the interview's outset. "I could not kill anyone."

And as the interview drew to a close, Simpson, his voice trembling as he gazed into the camera, again insisted that he could not have murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, whose slashed bodies were found outside her Brentwood condominium just after midnight June 13, 1994.

To those who still believe he is responsible, Simpson declared: "If you don't like me, leave me alone. I'm not bothering you."

Questioned by reporter Ed Gordon, Simpson portrayed himself as the victim of dishonest police officers. And Simpson said the continuing public distrust of him is driven by unfair media and by women's groups that have made him "their whipping boy."

Wednesday's interview, broadcast live on the Black Entertainment Network, marked Simpson's most expansive public comments about the murders. Although Simpson did not testify at his trial, it took a racially mixed jury less than four hours to acquit him.

He has had a harder time convincing the public of his innocence. Polls after the verdicts showed that most people believed he committed the murders, though the surveys revealed a sharp split in the reactions of blacks and whites, with whites more likely to see Simpson as guilty and blacks more inclined to accept the verdicts.

From near the opening moments of the interview, Simpson made it clear that there were topics he would not discuss -- both to protect himself in his ongoing civil cases and to preserve the value of an upcoming videotaped interview with him. Because of that, the session barely touched on the evidence that resulted in his arrest for murder and that his lawyers spent nine months dismantling during the trial.

Simpson acknowledged `he was wrong to hit Nicole Simpson during a 1989 altercation but said prosecution allegations that he had stalked and intimidated her later were "totally BS."

Simpson spoke softly in his deep voice throughout most of the hourlong session. Only twice did his temper seem to flare, once in acknowledging that he felt both sympathy and anger for the families of the two victims and then later when he contrasted his plight to that of former Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Stacey Koon, who was convicted of violating Rodney King's civil rights and whose supporters contributed more than $4 million to his legal defense and family.

"A guy like Stacey Koon, who supervised the beating of a human being, that guy spent easier time than I spent and had $4 million waiting for him when he got out of jail," Simpson fumed. "So don't tell me about mourning and suffering. I sat in a cell by myself. They wouldn't let me speak to another prisoner. When I walked down the halls, they made all the other prisoners turn their backs to me. I mourn. And I'm still mourning. For the rest of my life, I'll mourn. But I should have the right to go outside. I enjoy golf. I should have the right to play golf."