Martin Sheen Helps Shop New TV Project on O.J. Simpson's Innocence

AP Photo/Pool/ Myung J. Chun
O.J. Simpson and Johnnie Cochran Jr.

A Dallas-based private investigator says he has spent 21 years gathering "hard evidence" he believes exonerates the football Hall of Famer.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

If you thought the O.J. Simpson saga would be put to bed after new projects on FX and ESPN, think again. An undertaking backed by Martin Sheen is making the rounds, with TV execs eager to find the next true-crime hit. William Dear, a Dallas-based private investigator, says he has spent 21 years gathering "hard evidence" he believes exonerates the football Hall of Famer, who was acquitted of killing ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995 but found liable by a civil jury two years later. "I have evidence nobody has seen or looked at," says Dear, who laid out alternative theories in his 2012 book O.J. Is Innocent and I Can Prove It. Dear hopes FX's American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and ESPN's five-part docuseries O.J.: Made in America will stoke interest in his pitch rather than quell it.

Dear, who claims he is in possession of the murder weapon along with a slew of other evidence he says the LAPD ignored, believes his project goes deeper than what's out there. He sees it as a way to "reinvestigate the entire O.J. case from beginning to end." He is aiming for a grand jury indictment of the real culprit. "I've worked hard to be able to put forth what I think would be sufficient evidence before a grand jury to seek an indictment of the person who should have been considered a major suspect at the time," says Dear, declining to reveal whom. Sheen, who met Dear through son Charlie Sheen, accompanied Dear to four of nine meetings at TV studios in January to pitch the idea of an eight- to 10-part miniseries. As for the competition? "Ours is entirely different," says Dear. "We hope to blow the lid off everything."

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