FAYE RESNICK, AUTHOR

A correspondent has written to tell me that after reading here of my dispute with Marla in "SATURDAY NIGHT ON RESTAURANT ROW" she went back and re-read Resnick's book, "Nicole Brown Simpson, A Life Interrupted." From this, she comes to a similar opinion as mine, but for slightly different reasons.
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    RESNICK'S THESIS:
Resnick claims -- vehemently -- that Simpson killed his ex-wife, and produces a sketchy account of her relationship to the couple, especially Nicole, to support the idea. Resnick claims to have been Nicole's "best friend" (though I dispute that she was that in the period before 1994), and she mentions several interactions she herself had with Simpson in the weeks before the crimes that she thinks portended his violent attack on Nicole on the night of June 12th, 1994.

    Although no-J's think Simpson is guilty, they do not rest most of their case on Resnick, but on the abundant physical evidence that shows Simpson was at Bundy on the murder night, and other accounts of his abusive behavior toward Nicole in the several years beforehand. (Marla herself puts more stock in Resnick's claim than most no-J's, perhaps because Marla had a personal encounter with Faye.) Pro-J's are dismissive of Resnick as an opportunist who cashed in on her friend's death, and would say anything to make a buck. The public has regarded the book as titillating, but as unreliable as a supermarket tabloid.

    FAYE'S CREDIBILITY: I begin by distinguishing personal observations, on the one hand, and conclusions or opinions, on the other. When Resnick says, "I had a telephone conversation with Simpson on Monday night and he said...," I believe that she had such an experience. However, if she says, "Simpson is a lying, wife-beating murderer," that is a conclusion or an opinion, and she is entitled to hers, as we are entitled to ours. So, in a search for significance, I pick through her book looking for accounts of actual experiences.

    Ordinarily, I would give such accounts of personal experiences extremely high credibility, but Resnick presents a special problem. In the weeks before the crime she was seriously influenced by drug use. (Faye herself says <p. 209> "Over the past couple of weeks I'd slipped back into tooting and smoking coke two or three times a day and mellowing the drug's hard edge with Valium. Nicole never used the word 'paranoid,' but I know she thought I was overreacting [to the indications of Simpson's hostility].")

    In fact, Faye was so impaired on the Wednesday before the Sunday crime that her friends conspired to jawbone her into a rehab clinic the next day. On this basis alone, there may have been fairly conspicuous activities in that time that she did not notice, or misinterpreted. It is also interesting that Resnick, who was probably the most "friendly" possible prosecution witness, never saw the inside of a courtroom. This could either be because her drug experience could be used to attack her credibility, or because the prosecution thought that she had some counter-productive information that the defense could elucidate. (Knowing Marcia Clark, Faye could also have been skipped over for completely irrational reasons.)

    Furthermore, even a casual reading of her book shows that Faye has a profound agenda -- she wants the world to think that Simpson is guilty. So, she is motivated to put into the book those truths that support her objective, and omit those that do not -- whether irrelevant to her purpose, or contrary to it. It should not be believed that the book is anything like a complete account of Faye's experiences in the weeks before the crime -- only those that show Simpson in a guilty light. In particular, she says that her diaries for the period in question were stolen by a burglar. However, (p. 4 of her book) she had (at her lawyer's suggestion) taken the precaution of making a tape "using material from my diaries before they were stolen. These tape recordings became the basis of this book." So, the book is a result of the part of the diaries that she thought was significant in those frightening days just after the murder, not the whole diaries.

    Nonetheless, with those reservations, I think that Resnick makes a valuable contribution to the Simpson case, and I generally believe the factual things she has to say. And, I think she is sincere (though mistaken) in her passionate accusations of Simpson. Finally, I believe that in the weeks before the crime Faye had an almost hysterical expectation that Simpson was going to kill Nicole, and tried everything she could do to "protect" her friend from him, and even urged Nicole to flee to Europe from Simpson's grasp. In fact, I think that this was Faye's constant preoccupation in those last weeks, and she did this because of a sincere concern for Nicole and an honest belief she was in peril from her ex-husband.

    MY INTERPRETATION:
It is inescapable that when Resnick wrote the book, she believed Simpson had murdered Nicole, and in the weeks before the crime, she also believed that Simpson intended to murder Nicole. It is my impression that Faye's anxiety before the murders is not only supported by the stolen diaries, but by news interviews with other witnesses in the weeks after the crimes. Also, Faye's assertion about this is similar to the statements of Nicole's sister, Denise Brown, that she believed before the crime that Simpson was going to kill Nicole. So, there is no doubt in my mind that before the murders the concept was in the air around Nicole that OJ was extremely angry with her -- to the point that he would actually kill her.

    But, from her actions, it appears that Nicole herself -- the greatest authority of all on Simpson's personality -- minimized these warnings. She was angry at OJ, but did not take any special precautions to protect herself from him. She did not move out of the condo and stay with friends, and she did not try to placate him, as she had in years earlier. (As Faye says, their friend Kathy Harouch lived in a secure gated community and had space for her.) In fact, this seemed to be a period in which Nicole particularly asserted her independence and thereby would have provoked OJ if he had murderous intentions toward her. So, it appears that Nicole, herself, did not share her friends' anxiety that Simpson would actually kill her, or at least she was confident she could handle him short of mayhem.

    (Notice that the urgently planned move from Bundy to Malibu was not the result of Nicole's anxiety about OJ's murderous intentions, but because of the IRS implications of continuing to live in the condo. Also, Nicole's shunning of OJ at the recital, in phone calls, and at the post-recital dinner was not an attempt to avoid a murderous rage (not even Faye or Denise would have expected Simpson to srike in a crowded restaurant) but were actions to provoke Simpson, i.e., the opposite of defensive.)

    MY CORRESPONDENT'S TAKE ON THIS:
After re-reading Resnick's book, and with the background of knowing all of Simpson's sins that Darden enumerated, my correspondent had an opinion which is also my opinion, based on less recent reading. There is enough in what Resnick saw before the murders to make a person reasonably know that there was a state of hostility between Nicole and OJ in the weeks before the crime, that Simpson was very angry with her, and had "given up on Nicole" (again). But, there is not enough to cause a reasonable person to believe that Simpson was actually on the verge of doing murder.

    (Simpson was a person with a great deal to lose by such an act, and had a rich man's access to legal means of tormenting Nicole that the rest of us do not have. And, in his normal rational state Simpson had shown he had the capacity for self-restraint, and doing what was best in his long range interests. However, he was also know to be capable of flying into a rage when he was drunk: New Year's Eve, Red Onion, Las Vegas, etc. This then leads to the idea that Simpson would not have committed the Bundy murders out of premeditation, which would have given his rational self time to interfere, but could only have done it if he was in a drunken rage. The two witnesses to Simpson at 11:00 o'clock -- Park and Kato -- do not indicate Simpson was drunk, and the details of the crime imply a degree of care, if not cunning, that is contrary to drunkenness.)

    So, we come to a point of believing that there was not an objective reason for Faye and Denise to believe that Simpson was actually on the verge of murdering Nicole (unless there is more than they are telling us), but they did believe this. It appears, then, that this concept was injected from outside the situation, or at least that an outside influence magnified small indications that were present. (My correspondent and I recognize that threats such as, "I'm gonna kill you for that!" are issued thousands of times for once that they are actually carried out. Faye and Denise should realize that, too.)

    OTHER MATERIAL: My correspondent did not comment about it, but there are a couple of specific details in Faye's book that interest me. One is the disappearance of the spare house (and outside gates) key and garage door opener. Faye says that when she moved in with Nicole, her hostess wanted to give her the spare key but found it was missing. Thereupon, Faye speculates that Simpson had stolen these things. However, the crimes occurred outdoors, the possession of a key or a garage door opener do not particularly figure in any "Simpson did it" scenario, and the specific times when Simpson was inside Nicole's condo appear to be considerably earlier than the time when these objects were missing. So, Faye's speculation that Simpson took them seems doubtful to me. But, of that time, hazy through a fog of cocaine, Faye recalls that there was something about "missing key." I think she had it herself, and passed it on to a "friend" for safe keeping, perhaps to get it out of harm's way so that Simpson could not actually steal it. (See "Simpson's Keys," on our site for more on this topic.)

    Then there is the "9:00 o'clock phone call to Nicole" in which Faye claims that she had her final conversation with Nicole an hour or so before the murders. I believe this conversation did happen, and in it Faye naturally acquired last minute information about the status in the condo (i.e., Nicole was alone and planning to go to bed early.) I think that what Faye did not tell us is that she had a subsequent conversation that night, just after she talked to Nicole, in which she told her "friend" these things, innocently and harmlessly.

    But, these two issues are matters of my speculation, and my correspondent stuck to just making reasonable inferences from what she saw on the page.

    "BEST FRIEND": I have asserted that before 1994 (and perhaps even right up until the weeks just before the crime) Faye Resnick was not Nicole's "best friend," as Faye has loudly proclaimed, but that Cora Fischman occupied that role in Nicole's life. We see (p. 210 in Faye's book) that when she is talking about the disposition of Nicole's house keys, Faye says, " Nicole had four sets of keys. One set was for Elvie, the maid. Cora always had one set..." And of course, Nicole had a set. Together with the missing keys, that is four sets. Now, I assert that if Nicole had one set of house keys to give to someone outside of the household, she would give it to her "best friend," and that was Cora Fischman, not Faye Resnick. (Faye explains the situation by saying Cora had a set "because her kids where there a lot," but this is unconvincing to me.)

    I know this sounds like a petty question, but it has significance for me, because of a peculiarity after the murders. In that time, ALL of Nicole's friends turned on Simpson except Cora and her husband. My explanation for this is that Nicole had told Cora something (probably toward the end of 1993) that was so confidential and dangerous she only wanted to confide in one person. The person she chose was her "best friend," the same person to whom she had entrusted her house key. And, this information both explained to Cora after the crime who -- other than Simpson -- had done it, and also put her in peril from the same source. Insofar as Cora could have been expected to have communicated this knowledge to her husband, the frantic -- almost comical -- efforts that Ron Fischman went through to avoid service for the civil trial are explained. He could not tell what he knew for fear of his life, and could not refuse for fear of contempt of court.

    So I believe.

    THE STOLEN DIARIES: Faye believes -- and I believe, too -- that her diaries of the period immediately before the crime were stolen to cover up something about the murders. It is claimed that the reason Faye's diaries were stolen was because they supported the idea that she believed Simpson was the murderer BEFORE the crimes. However, as I have pointed out above, there is abundant indication without the diaries to believe that was Faye's frame of mind before the murders. The theft of the diaries did nothing to enhance that. In fact, Denise, felt at least as strongly that Simpson was going to kill Nicole, and the theft of Faye's diaries has no impact on that.

    I think that the diaries were stolen to conceal some other information that was in them, and hence some information that Faye had not copied onto the tapes she made. Since she copied the Simpson-incriminating information from the diaries, the data that the burglar wanted to hide was something that implicated someone else than Simpson.

    So, I also believe.

Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA (4/13/00) NG_616

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