KATO'S UNWITTING COMPLICITY
I had made a reply to a post on another subject, and as an afterthought told of an interesting fact about Kato that I had learned from a reliable Westside contact. There was little response to this, except by you. In answering you, I posted a map of the area in question, and explored several aspects of the incident that I had not considered before. If it had not been for your persistent (if flawed) objections to what I said, the topic would have died a quiet death, and I would have been spared from the new insights that this discussion has led me to. Having gone to all that work though, I now consider that I should summarize our discussion for those who might be interested in Kato's part in the Simpson case. (As Junot has said, many people have suspected that Kato knew more than he told, and here now, I show what that was.) I think that Suska and her friend Kato will want to thank you, Confused. Without you, I would not be able -- or motivated -- to publish all of this about Kato. [KATO.JPG]
MY WESTSIDE CONTACT SAYS: My contact is a thoroughly honest person whom I believe completely. This person knew Kato in the weeks after the Bundy murders and at that time Kato was in a state of great agitation and apparent fear. It was a time when Kato, in his panic, confided in several people, as comments by his friends Grant Cramer, Marc Eliot, and others attest, as well as the accounts of most Simpson case authors that discuss him. And, Kato also confided in my contact. This is part of the story that Kato told my contact...
On that fateful Sunday night, after 11:00 o'clock, Simpson told Kato that he "had been in a traffic accident, and may have bled." He asked that after the limo left Kato clean up the Bronco interior, and launder a black sweatsuit. Kato agreed, and did those things for his benefactor. That is the beginning and the end of the allegation that I made, and I believe it. (I have included here the cover story, "traffic accident," that I did not mention in the posts.)
BACKGROUND: Nearly all Simpson-case authors discuss Kato, and they all agree on the basics; transcripts of the criminal trial proceedings tell substantially the same story... Kato had met Nicole years before in Colorado, had rented a guest house at her Gretna Green house, and ran errands for her. When she moved to the Bundy condo in January 1994 he would have occupied the maid's quarters in the basement, OJ thought it would be unseemly to have a man under the same roof with Nicole, and offered Kato a guest house at his own estate rent-free. Kato moved to Rockingham, instead of Bundy.
On the night of the crime, Kato and OJ spent the early part of the evening together, culminating in a trip to McDonalds for hamburgers that ended about 9:40 pm. Kato went to his guest house in back and was on the phone to friends most of the following hour. At about 10:45 there were three forceful thumps on his outside wall which frightened/worried Kato. He continued with his phone conversation with Rachel Ferrara for more than five minutes, then set out to investigate the cause. (At this point, the detail of exactly the location where Kato was when the "shadowy figure" crossed the drive become slightly contentious between us, and I give my understanding.)
Equipped only with a small penlight, he went through the darkened back yard, around the main house, along the north walkway, and to the driveway. There he saw the area brightly lit from the headlights of the limo, come to take Simpson to the airport, which was waiting for someone to open the gate. Kato stopped a couple of feet short of the driveway, the limo driver, Alan Park, saw him, and almost immediately saw a "shadowy figure" (presumed to be Simpson) cross the driveway and go into the house. (Even though the path of the shadowy figure was also within Kato's field of view, and Kato was closer to it than Park, Kato says he did not see the shadowy figure.) Thereupon, Kato continued on his course to investigate the cause of the three thumps on the south pathway outside his room (without himself opening the gate for the limo). [2CARS.JPG]
The south walk was so dark, and Kato's little flashlight was so feeble, he was discouraged from pushing all the way back to do a serious investigation. He came back, opened the Ashford gate for the limo driver, and the limo pulled up to the porch. Kato chatted with the driver for a few minutes, and when the driver turned to load the golf bag, waiting on the porch, into the trunk, Kato returned to make a second trip to the south walk, and that ended in discouragement, too. When Kato came back to the front of the house a second time, OJ was there. Kato noticed "a blue duffel bag with a patch of leather on it like a knapsack" (referred to elsewhere as a "book bag") "on a little plot of grass next to the back right rear taillight of the Bentley." Being closer to it than OJ, Kato asked if he should get it, and Simpson said, "No, no, I'll get it," and retrieved it himself, putting it in the back passenger area, not the trunk, of the limo. The bag was never seen again.
Kato complained of his little flashlight, and Simpson said there was a better one in the kitchen. The two of them went into the house to get it so that Kato could continue his investigation of the north walk, but (according to the standard story) before they found the flashlight, Simpson realized how late it was, and they came back to the driveway without a flashlight. Simpson jumped into the limo, Kato opened the gate, and the limo left. Kato closed up the front yard, went back to his guest house, and called Rachel to resume their conversation. Fifteen minutes into that, the call was interrupted by Simpson who was on his cell phone en-route in the limo, and he gave Kato the code and instructions to arm the security system on the house. Kato interrupted the call to Rachel again, set the alarm on the house, and resumed talking on the phone to her. That lasted until about 1:30, Kato went to sleep, and was awakened by the police, just before dawn.
AFTERMATH: In his sleepy state, Kato told Det. Fuhrman about the three thumps the night before, then he and Simpson's grown daughter, Arnelle, (who also occupied a guest house on the estate) were brought to the kitchen area where they overheard phone calls that revealed to them that Nicole had been killed the night before. The police declared the Rockingham estate to be a "crime scene" and Kato and Arnelle had to leave. Kato was at first taken to the West LA station of the LAPD where he was neglected for half a day, then "interrogated" in an abusive, distrusting, and threatening way. For the next week or more Kato spent a good deal of time with his friend, Grant Cramer. Kato was apparently very confused and frightened in that first week after the crimes. He was telephonically pursued by Simpson and his attorneys Weitzman and Shapiro in the first days for what have generally been considered a request for an alibi for Simpson. However, Kato never made any statements that he had seen Simpson between 9:40 and 11:00 o'clock. [KATO_RM2.JPG]
By the end of the first week, Kato was having new problems, now with prosecutors, who were grilling him like a piece of steak that they had bought and owned. On Friday, Marcia Clark duped him into an unexpected appearance before the grand jury for which he was not prepared. He refused to answer her questions on the basis of the Fifth Amendment (against self-incrimination), and she took him before a judge to compel his cooperation. In that session, the judge assessed that Kato, legal amateur that he was, had meant to decline testifying until he could consult his attorney, not on Fifth Amendment grounds, and the judge granted him the weekend to do so. In every subsequent appearance in court, Kato was vague, equivocal, and evasive, and in the end Marcia Clark declared him a "hostile witness," and grilled him publicly. To no avail, but the public feeling remains that Kato knows more than he ever told.
Substantially, Kato has never said more -- to the police, to prosecutors, in court, or to the media -- than what he said in those first hours on the Rockingham estate before he had the opportunity to consult with others or to think through the consequences of what he was saying.
TABLOID SOURCES: After the criminal trial, there were a few tabloid (print and TV) articles about Kato's experience.
Before taking an interest in the Simpson case, I had always believed that tabloid accounts were sensationalized, doubtful at best, and of zero value as a source of information. However, in the course of combing through dusty court archives, I ran across a case (not one of those described here) in which there was a deposition by a woman who was the source of a tabloid article. She was confronted by the article under oath, and asked if the things in the article were things she had actually told the author, and whether those things were true. She identified one short paragraph -- stray, and the most sensational of the article -- which she said was the tabloid author's own invention. Otherwise, her quotes in the article were accurate, and the overall implications of the article were true, to the extent that she had independent knowledge of it, she swore. Since that time (and with other examples), my esteem for tabloid articles is better. I think they often do contain some truth that might not be found otherwise, but they are larded with sensational exaggeration, and that exaggeration may actually be in quoted attributions to a source that did not say those things. The problem, then, is to sort out the truth in a tabloid account from the exaggeration.
BARBARA WALTERS: There was a Barbara Walters interview with a Kato friend, Grant Cramer. Kato had gone early and in panic to see and stay with Cramer, and told him -- almost as a "spontaneous outburst" -- what his true experience on Sunday night had been. Cramer said that contrary to Kato's trial testimony, Kato told him that at the time the limo for LAX was being loaded, O.J. was trembling uncontrollably.
THE GLOBE: On October 31, 1995, the tabloid newspaper, "The GLOBE" published an article under the headline, "KATO TOLD ME HE HELPED HIDE BLOODY CLOTHES". This is an abbreviation (my comments in brackets) of that...
House guest Kato Kaelin helped O.J. Simpson get rid of blood-soaked clothing he was wearing the night Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were brutally killed! That's the shocking charge of Kato's former pal, Klein Al'n, a Hollywood singer who says Kato confessed to concealing the evidence that would have proved O.J. was the killer.
"I was visiting Grant Cramer, a mutual friend of Kato's and mine," Klein told WKABC radio in L.A. "This was in the days just after the June 12 murders. We were freaked out because of these horrible killings."
But Kato was even more shook up, says Klein. "It was near midnight on June 16, 1994," he recalls. "I had just left Grant's apartment, and as I got to my car I noticed Kato's car parked behind me. I saw Kato inside, slumped over the steering wheel. I went to the window and said, 'Kato, are you all right?' He was as white as a ghost, and shaking uncontrollably. I asked him what was going on. He started talking very fast.
[There occurs a lurid description of Simpson in "dark clothes that had blood all over them," (how do you tell if substantially black clothing has "blood all over them"?), that Simpson got undressed (outdoors, but unseen by Park) in front of Kato, and that Kato then helped Simpson to dispose of those clothes in a "green plastic trash bag." Presumably, Simpson then went into his house wearing little or nothing -- contrary to Park's observation.]
Klein says he was shocked at what he heard, but Kato didn't stop there. "Then, Kato looked at me and said: 'Don't tell anyone. If you do, you'll be killed. Your life will be in danger. Grant's life will be in danger.' It put the fear of God in me."
Later, Kato's pal Grant, an ex-lover of Nicole and the son of actress Teri Moore, told prosecutors Kato had described O.J. as "frazzled and out of breath" the night of the murders. And, despite his tears, Klien shared his amazing story of O.J. and the bloody clothes with police. He was subpoenaed eight times by Simpson's defense team, but was never called to testify.
THE EXAMINER: There was also an article in the tabloid "The EXAMINER", of October 10, 1995; p. 17, titled, "KATO KAELIN... COPS THINK HE DID IT!"
This article claimed that even after Simpson had been acquitted in the criminal trial, Kato worried that the cops blamed his caginess with prosecutors for "spoiling their case" and were out to hang a perjury rap, at least, on him to get even. The Examiner piece recounts the story that Kato told to author Marc Eliot about his treatment at the hands of cops and prosecutors. The article concludes with statements from a source that claims (with lurid exaggeration) that Kato helped Simpson by taking care of some bloody clothes, and wiping down the interior of the Bronco. The article also claims -- a complete invention of the tabloid author, I think -- that it was Kato who inadvertently dropped the bloody glove on the south walkway as he was disposing of Simpson's bloody clothes.
INTEGRATING THE ACCOUNTS: Now, we should like to integrate the information from the foregoing sources -- the transcripts, news accounts, tabloid stories, and my source -- and make the fairest estimation of just what Kato's experience was.
KATO'S STATE OF MIND: In the earliest interviews the police apparently thought that Kato had some guilty knowledge, and they tried to trap him into revealing it. He did not change his original story. Marcia Clark also had that thought, and tried to catch him unprepared by dragging him by surprise to the grand jury. People who saw him in that first week (Grant Cramer and Klien Al'n, on the record) also say that Kato was in a state of panic. There could be several causes for his worry, most obviously 1) because he thought he could be convicted of something he did with regard to the crime, or 2) because he could anger his rich and powerful benefactor, O.J. Simpson. But, neither of these explain Klien Al'n's claim, "Don't tell anyone. If you do, you'll be killed. Your life will be in danger. Grant's life will be in danger." The authorities would not resort to such methods, and so we have reason to think that 3) Kato may have believed that the underworld was somehow involved, and thought they wanted the truth covered up.
But, such possibilities can be no more than a suspicion. The facts of the crime itself were horrifying, as Simpson's own reaction is an indication. He substantially lost his sanity from Tuesday to Friday, at least. Although Kato was less involved, he may be a more imaginative person, and he may have also suffered an irrational reaction to the grisly murder of a person he knew so well.
"DIDN'T SEE THE SHADOWY FIGURE" When we see a map of the front of Simpson's estate, we realize a couple of things. First, Kato was in a position to see the path of the shadowy figure better than Park was, and Kato was only half as far away. (Also, if Simpson shouted in a loud whisper, Kato could hear, but Park, in the limo and on the telephone, could not.) But, Park saw the figure, and Kato says he did not. Furthermore, the place of the shadowy figure is exactly the area that Kato was about to cross through in order to get to his objective of the south walkway, so if he was looking toward where he was going, he was looking in the figure's direction. Unlikely, but not absolutely impossible that Kato missed seeing the shadowy figure. [ENTRKATO.JPG]
Second, we see from the map that there are regions in the shadows by the Bentley where Simpson could be seen by Kato, but not by Park. I have asserted for a long time that the "three thumps" were caused by Simpson deliberately pounding on Kato's wall to attract his attention to come and distract the limo driver, so that Simpson could creep into the house unseen. Since there was no prior arrangement to this effect, Simpson had to count on Kato's deciding on his own to come investigate the disturbance, and it took almost ten minutes before Kato finally showed up. From the map, I now see that it was possible for Simpson in the shadows by the Bentley to make hand signals to Kato -- who would most naturally be looking in Simpson's direction -- and those signals would be unseen by Park. I don't know what Simpson signaled for Kato to do, and I'm not sure Kato got the message straight, but they caused Kato to do three unnatural things:
* Stop in his progress toward the south walk,
* Claim that he did not see Simpson, and
* Proceed without opening the gate for the limo.
Third, I think that the fact that the shadowy figure began his move across the driveway mere seconds after Kato appeared on the scene tends to confirm my conjecture that Simpson deliberately caused Kato to come, and waited to cross the driveway until he appeared. There is no other explanation I can think of for why Simpson waited 10 minutes from the time he got back to Rockingham until he went into the house, and the coincidence is really rather much.
EXPLICIT DIRECTIONS: If Simpson told Kato to clean up after him, when did he communicate this? Such specific and detailed instructions could not be the subject of hand signals in the front yard, and required a conversation -- in private. There appear to be only two opportunities. The first is when the two of them went into the house to "look for a flashlight" and were out of earshot of Park, the second was when Simpson called Kato on the cell phone from the limo about "setting the alarm." But, the actual implementation would require some time -- at least five or ten minutes I think -- to wipe down the Bronco interior, and put the sweatsuit in the washing machine and start it. Ferrara did not seem to think that Kato was gone a remarkable long time when he went to set the alarm, so that fact inclines one to think that the earlier opportunity was used. That is, Simpson told Kato what needed to be done when they were in the kitchen together, purportedly "to look for a flashlight." I truth, I think Simpson got the spare Bronco key from the kitchen drawer where it was kept, and dropped it in Kato's hand. (That key was never later seen.)
Then, Kato could have wiped down the Bronco interior, put the sweatsuit in the washing machine and started it after Simpson left the property, and before he resumed the telephone conversation with Ferrara. From Ferrara's perspective, those extra activities would not be discerned from the time just to get Simpson off for the airport. If that is the case, then we can understand that Simpson's true purpose in calling Kato from the limo was to get verification that the cleanup had been done, and the setting of the alarm was only of secondary interest.
EXECUTION: In the article, "Five Minutes in Rockingham House" I show how Simpson could have done all of the things needed to conceal a visit to Bundy and get ready to get in the limo in a five minute span. But, he needs to move fast, and there is not time to spare for formalities (like picking up the cast off sock on the bedroom floor.) So, that conjecture accounts for the sweatsuit that Simpson wore to Bundy by saying that after coming into his house, he went directly to the laundry room, tore off his sweatsuit, and "threw it at the washing machine" (and also left a blood stain on the light switch there.) Then he went to the foyer and used the intercom to admit the limo (leaving more blood on the foyer floor) Finally, he ran up the stairs in his shorts and socks (his shoes were outside in the book bag), holding his bleeding finger to his mouth.
So, Kato's task with regard to the sweatsuit was simply to put into the machine a garment that was already there, add some soap, turn a knob, and push a button. A minute is plenty of time for that, and the machine would do the rest, revealing the next morning a wet freshly laundered sweatsuit together with whatever else was in the washing machine when Kato set to work (Arnelle's underwear). [FRONT.JPG]
Cleaning up the Bronco is another matter. I saw that parking place after sundown, myself, and it is utterly dark. Overhanging trees obscured the place from the streetlight on the corner. Ordinarily, once the car door is opened, the dome light would illuminate the interior, and Kato could see to wipe up blood spots from that. But, Simpson had removed the dome light. So, the only light with which Kato could work was his puny little penlight, he converted the "spots" and "dabs" on the console where the right hand glove had rested into "smears," and he missed a jot on the steering wheel, and other stains on the driver's door entirely. If he had the key to the Bronco at the outset, did not have to look for it, and did not put the key away after he was done, he could have completed this task in four minutes, I think.
"SETTING THE ALARM": The fact of Simpson's phone call to Kato from the limo could not be kept secret -- that call interrupted the second conversation with Ferrara. So, like the trip to the kitchen ("for the flashlight") that Kato and Simpson made and Park saw, an innocent reason had to be advanced. It is claimed that the purpose of the call from the limo was for Simpson to instruct Kato how to set the alarm for the house -- a thing that Simpson claims that in his haste he forgot to do. (Arnelle, in her testimony says that she had to disable the alarm before she opened the main house front door for the police. But, this is contradicted by the five people she admitted to the house -- also witnesses who testified under oath -- and they all say she admitted them through the back door, which did not have a keypad to disable the alarm, and the alarm never went off. Thereby, we believe that when the house was entered near dawn on Monday morning, the alarm was not set. But, it is not clear from this whether Kato did not set the alarm, or did so incorrectly -- and ineffectively.)
But, whether one believes that Simpson committed murder that night, or that he was terrified that he was being framed for a murder he did not do, concealing his visit to Bundy would be his compelling preoccupation, not worrying about a burglary. So, I think that the en-route call to Kato was primarily to verify that Kato had done the things that Simpson had asked, and as an afterthought, Simpson also asked Kato to set the alarm.
MANIPULATIVE LA: In the higher strata of LA -- particularly the entertainment industry and the Westside -- many people live their lives by image and manipulation only. The cops tried to manipulate (and frighten) Kato, then Simpson and his attorneys did the same. Later the DA tried to trick and berate him into helping them; all the while Kato tried to use the opportunity to refine and promote his own image to the public. And, people all over town tried to jump on the media train that the Bundy murders had created.
Among Kato's efforts at manipulating his image, he sought out author Marc Eliot, and persuaded him to write a book about Kato's experiences; the book was done. According to Eliot, it was a true account based on hours of tape recorded interviews with Kato, and other information. But on the eve of publication, Kato's advisers decided that it did not portray him in the way they would like; they demanded changes that would cause the book to become more of a Kato puff-piece than an honest account, and the project fell apart entirely. Eventually, Eliot started afresh and wrote another book, of his own experiences of trying to write Kato's book. It was published as "Kato Kaelin: The Whole Truth." [KATOMARC.JPG]
CONCLUSION: Integrating all of the foregoing, I believe that when Simpson got back from Bundy with the bloody glove, he saw that the limo driver had his access to the house in sight, and formulated an impromptu plan. He went back and pounded on Kato's wall (inadvertently dropping the glove back there) to bring Kato to the front of the house, and cause a distraction for the limo driver. When Kato showed up at the driveway, Simpson signaled to him in a way that Kato interpreted to mean not to recognize Simpson, not to open the gate, and to wait to continue in his errand.
Later, while the limo was being loaded, Simpson drew Kato into the house on the pretext of "looking for a flashlight," but really to give Kato the spare Bronco key and ask him to wipe out the Bronco interior and launder the sweatsuit he had been wearing, after the limo left for the airport, because Simpson "had been in a little traffic accident, and might have bled." Kato did those things and did not mention them later, as Simpson probably also asked. Later, Simpson phoned Kato to confirm that these vital things had been done, and incidentally, to ask him to arm the alarm system -- a thing that Simpson could not have done himself before leaving for the airport, because Kato needed access to the laundry room. After the police arrived, Kato became frightened that he had committed a crime Sunday night (he had not), and after seeing the ham-handed and threatening way the police were treating him, clamed up about his Sunday night activities.
So I believe.
Dick Wagner Van Nuys, CA (2/12/01) NG_710.TXT