CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

PIs offer Simpson free sleuthing


But will he give them the cold shoulder?

May 29, 1996
Web posted at: 8:15 a.m. EDT

From San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson has remarked that untapped leads in San Francisco may vindicate him -- but that he can't check them out, because he's broke. In response, half a dozen of the city's most respected private eyes have offered their services for free.

Hal Lipset, a famous detective in a city known for its private investigators, took umbrage that his city could be blamed for harboring Simpson's alleged perpetrator.


"We represent a lot of years of experience in the investigative field. But we're doing it primarily because San Francisco was the base," he said.

Lipset says his offer of help is not to be considered critical of the San Francisco Police Department. Simpson has said he no longer trusts Los Angeles police. Private investigations may be more to his liking.

In all, the heads of six separate private investigation companies have joined in the offer. Phil Stuto is one.

"It does besmirch the city to think these leads aren't being followed. And we can certainly afford the time with six of us in six different companies to follow those leads and check them out thoroughly," he said.

But the Simpson team seems to be backing away from Simpson's May 20 statement. On CNN's "Burden of Proof" Tuesday, Simpson investigator Patrick McKenna said, "They're probably cold leads now, so they'll be ice-fishing in San Francisco for these."


McKenna also hinted that Nicole Brown Simpson's friend Faye Resnick and Resnick's drug problem could be linked to Ms. Simpson's death. (179K AIFF or WAV sound)

"Faye Resnick and her associates ... weren't exhaustively followed. We were concerned with defending Mr. Simpson at the time, not doing law enforcement's job of apprehending people and following up these leads," McKenna said.

Are the Simpson leads real or imagined? San Francisco investigator Vance Morris wonders, "It can also be a red herring. Does he have the leads or doesn't he? So we would like for him to respond in that respect."

And will Simpson eventually take Lipset and his colleagues up on the offer? "If he needs the help it's there. And if he doesn't choose to use it, then you can put your own spin on it," Lipset said.


Attorney John Burris, who specializes in defense and police cases, believes Simpson may have backed himself into a corner. Simpson, he says, raised the ante and the investigators are calling his bluff -- something that must frustrate the former football hero's lawyers. (136K AIFF or WAV sound)

"His lawyers are frustrated by his continuing desire to talk, making references to San Francisco. Every time he speaks like this it gives more fuel to the plaintiffs' lawyers to come back and hold him accountable," Burris said.

"As they say, we counsel clients, loose lips sink ships, less is best ... whenever you make these kinds of statements all you really do is create interest. If you can't deliver on the commitments or the statements that you made, it goes to your credibility."

Simpson defense attorney Professor Gerald Uelmen spoke on CNN's "Talk Back Live" Tuesday. "I think he (Simpson) has to be careful in accepting these kinds of offers because they might not be motivated to help him find the real killers. They may want to promote themselves, sell their stories to the media. There are a lot of factors that I think need to be taken into account."

The investigators say they'll make whatever they find available for public scrutiny -- that is, if Simpson approves their search.

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