LOS ANGELES, July 20 -- O.J. Simpson said Wednesday he did not kill his ex-wife and her friend and offered a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the 'real' killer. In his first public statement since being jailed on murder charges, Simpson maintained his innocence in the June 12 stabbing and slashing deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Goldman, 25. 'First of all O.J. wants to confirm to the public that he is innocent of all charges in this matter and that he is most eager to get to trial to prove his innocence to a jury of his peers,' said Simpson's personal attorney Leroy Taft. Simpson said he has hired his own detective to investigate leads that come in on an 800 phone number he has set up. The number -- 800-322-3632 -- reflects Simpson's jersey number (32) when he won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Southern California and set National Football League rushing records for the Buffalo Bills. Attorneys for Simpson, 47, said police and prosecutors singlemindedly went after the former football star-turned actor and did not investigate the possibility there could be other suspects in the sensational case. Lead lawyer Robert Shapiro said in court papers that Nicole Simpson told police in December 1992 she had received 'obscene phone calls of a threatening nature' that were not from O.J. Simpson. 'I have learned of numerous investigative leads that suggest other unknown suspects were responsible for this crime, and there may have been deliberate efforts to falsely implicate the defendant,' Shapiro said in a motion prepared for filing in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Shapiro said prosecutors have been exclusively devoted to one theory since the bodies of Nicole Simpson and Goldman were discovered: 'that the defendant Orenthal James Simpson was personally responsible for these murders.' The defense team said evidence suggesting Simpson's innocence has been ignored in the investigation, 'with no effort to follow up and locate possible witnesses and physical evidence to corroborate the defendant's claim of innocence.' Shapiro's latest motion requested every lead and tip in the investigation, including radio calls and police reports of prowlers or burglaries near Nicole Simpson's Brentwood condominium six months before the murders, a computer match of all unidentified fingerprints found at the scene. Shapiro also wants all police reports of unsolved similar killings in California in the past year, criminal history of associates of the victims and any records of visits to local emergency facilities for treatment of cuts or dog bites one day after the murders. 'The defendant is prepared to personally finance a follow-up investigation of the leads being ignored by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office,' Shapiro said. Simpson's youngest daughter, Sidney, 9, while in police custody after the bloody killings, was overheard by a police officer saying, 'I heard mommy's best friend's voice and heard mommy crying,' according to court papers. In December 1992, Nicole Simpson complained to police after receiving threatening and obscene phone calls, 'and a subsequent police investigation identified a suspect who was not the defendant,' Shapiro said. Shapiro requested the motion be heard Friday, when Simpson is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court. In his statement, Simpson thanked the thousands of people who have sent letters and cards to him or who have made public statements offering their prayers and love. 'O.J. intends to read every letter and card sent to him,' Taft said. 'So far, they have been of great comfort to him.'