By the time I got to Rockingham it was dark, some time after 8.00pm. The media mob had descended there, predictably, and engulfed the neighborhood. As far as the eye could see there were news vans, trucks, satellite dishes, and swarms of reporters from practically every country in the world.
The house itself had been barraged with deliveries from friends, well-wishers and, we later learned, journalists trying to get inside. Flowers, telegrams, pizzas, ice cream, cakes – everything imaginable was delivered to the house.
Before long, it was discovered that the tabloids had made floral deliveries and planted microphones inside the flowers. Other reporters ordered deliveries of various items to be made so they could try to sneak inside when the gates opened, or at least shout questions. Before long, all deliveries had to be left outside the front gate and examined by the security guards.
Those guards opened the gate for me and I went inside. I had only thing on my mind – to see O.J. The first person I saw inside the house was Larry Schiller, who was there because he had exclusive rights with a tabloid for pictures of O.J. on the day of his acquittal…
I spotted Cathy. She said O.J. was upstairs in his bedroom. The party was winding down by the time I got there, as it had been going on most of the day. I greeted a few people, and then quickly went up to the bedroom. The door was ajar. I knocked and walked in.
O.J. was lying on the bed propped up against some pillows. Gretchen Stockdale, whom O.J. later dated, was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking quite stunning.
Gretchen testified in the trial about a voicemail O.J. left for her on the night of the murders. Because Gretchen was jaw-droppingly beautiful, prosecutor Marcia Clark probably assumed she would have the IQ of a raisin. But Gretchen got on the witness stand and dismantled Clark. Everybody on the defense team was blown away. Marcia kept trying to corner her and make her look stupid, but she just couldn’t do it…
O.J. lit up when he saw me enter his bedroom. “Michael Gilbert!” he called out, and pulled me right onto the bed on top of him, hugging and kissing me…
Somebody brought me a glass of champagne. We all talked and bantered for probably two hours about the verdict and our reactions when it was read. People always ask me about O.J.’s own response to the verdict that night, and all I can remember is that he said he was extremely happy. I don’t remember specifically what his words were. I do remember that at one point he looked around his bedroom and said, “This is so good, to be back in my own bedroom, in my own bed.” He was euphoric.
Around midnight, I excused myself and told O.J. I would be back in the morning. He hugged me goodbye and thanked me again. I said goodbye to Gretchen and the others, left the party, and drove to my hotel, totally exhausted.
As I lay on my hotel bed, I thought: “Wow. It’s all over. It’s done. The nightmare is finished. We can all get back to real life now. Everything is going to be normal again.”
Mike Gilbert Confession. How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder (New York: Regnery Publishing 2015)