LOS ANGELES, March 4 (Reuters) - Police said on Friday they were examining a knife purportedly found at the former home of O.J. Simpson, the onetime football star acquitted of stabbing to death his ex-wife and her friend in the "Trial of the Century" two decades ago.
Forensic investigators were conducting DNA tests on the blade, which was recently turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department by a retired motorcycle officer, Lieutenant Andrew Neiman told reporters at a news conference.
Neiman said the officer told investigators he was given the knife by a construction worker, who in turn claimed to have found it on Simpson's property in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles when the house was being torn down in 1998.
Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death on June 12, 1994, at her condominium a few miles away.
The murder weapon had not been recovered at the time of his sensational trial, which was carried live on major television networks in the United States and transfixed much of the nation.
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Key Players in the OJ Simpson Trial
Police investigate knife found at O.J. Simpson's onetime LA home
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 21, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson holds up his hands before the jury after putting on a new pair of gloves similar to the infamous bloody gloves during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. The return of O.J. Simpson to a Las Vegas courtroom next Monday, May, 13, will remind Americans of a tragedy that became a national obsession and in the process changed the country's attitude toward the justice system, the media and celebrity. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool, File)
Defense attorney Robert Shapiro (L) sits next to O.J. Simpson during a preliminary hearing following the murders of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman July 7, 1994 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Lee Celano/WireImage)
Johnnie Cochran Jr., left, and Gerald Uelmen leave the Criminal Courts Building following the arraignment of O.J. Simpson on murder charges Friday, July 22, 1994, in Los Angeles. Cochran, who is a high-profile attorney known for his trials kills and links to the city's African-American community, is the latest addition to Simpson's defense team, which also includes Uelmen. (AP Photo/Chris Martinez)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Prosecutor Marcia Clark complains to the judge 27 February about a second statement by Rosa Lopez, a key defense witness, that was not released by the defense. Lopez, a housekeeper to a neighbor of O.J. Simpson's, claims to have seen a white Ford Bronco outside his home at around the time the prosecution claim the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman took place. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
Witness Brian "Kato" Kaelin testifies under direct examination during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial at the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Building in this Tuesday, March 21, 1995 photo. (AP Photo/John McCoy, Pool)
FILE - This file photo combo shows O.J. Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, left, and her friend Ron Goldman, both of whom were murdered and found dead in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994. O.J. Simpson was arrested in connection to the murder and acquitted of the crime. Simpson is now serving nine to 33 years in a Nevada prison after a jury found him guilty in 2008 of leading the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas, and he's seeking a new trial because he says his longtime lawyer failed to disclose that he knew about the plan in advance and told Simpson it was legal and provided bad advice at trial. (AP Photo/File)
FILE--Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman testifies in the Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles Thursday, March 9, 1995. The calm, controlled voice of Mark Fuhrman sliced through the O.J. Simpson courtroom Tuesday on racially explosive tapes offered by the defense to unmask the detective as ``L.A.'s worst nightmare,'' a racist, lying policeman. It was the same voice jurors heard months ago when the investigator who found the bloody glove on Simpson's property swore under oath that he had not used the word ``nigger'' in the last 10 years. (AP Photo/Pool, Kim Kulish)
Los Angeles Police Department Det. Philip Vannatter denied lying to the jury in the O.J. Simpson trial when he testified that he didn't consider Simpson a suspect when investigators entered his estate without a warrant Tuesday, Sept. 19, 1995, at Simpson's double-murrder trial in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John McCoy, Pool)
Los Angeles Police Department criminalist Dennis Fung, right, arrives with Brown family attorney, John Kelly, at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica, Calif. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1996 for the wrongful-death civil case against O.J. Simpson. Fung was on the stand on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michael Caulfield)
Potential O.J. Simpson alibi witness Rosa Lopez testifies in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, March 2, 1995, without the jury present during Simpson's double-murder trial. The woman billed in Johnnie Cochran Jr.'s opening statement as the Maid With the Alibi came to court in late February, testified under protest, hopped on a plane to El Salvador and hasn't been heard from since. (AP Photo/Blake Sell, Pool)
Limousine driver Allan Park, left, testifies while attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. displays a bag during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 29, 1995. (AP Photo/Hal Garb, Pool)
Prosecutor Christopher Darden points at a chart during his closing arguments as Marcia Clark looks on, Friday, Sept. 29, 1995, in a Los Angeles courtroom during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. Darden said to the jurors ``It's time to stand up. It is time to stand up. The Constitution says a man has no right to kill and get away with it just because one of the investigating officers is a racist.'' (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, pool)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 19: O.J. Simpson (R) whispers to Defense attorney F. Lee Bailey (L) during testimony of FBI special agent William Bodziak 19 June during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles. Bodziak compared one of O.J. Simpson's tennis shoes to a model of the Italian-made Bruno Magli shoes, which left imprints at the murder scene of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: O.J. Simpson defense attorney Alan Dershowitz (standing) gestures during a motion to Judge Lance Ito 16 June in which he said that the standard of juror dismissals must be changed. The defense has accused the prosecution of juror targeting and hiding witnesses. Seated are (L-R) prosecutor Marcia Clark and Scott Gordon. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
Defense attorney Barry Scheck, right, continues his cross- examination of Los Angeles Police criminalist Collin Yamauchi, Friday, May 26, 1995, during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, Pool)
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito yells in court during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles Friday, Sept. 29, 1995. (AP Photo/Eric Draper, Pool)
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A medical examiner testified for the prosecution at the time that Brown Simpson and Goldman were likely slain with a single-bladed, six-inch knife.
Police declined to elaborate on the timeline of when the knife was recovered but Neiman said it was possible that "the whole story is bogus from the get-go."
He also would not name the retired police officer or speculate on why the weapon had been given to police only in the past two months.
"We still don't know if that is an accurate account of how this item came into our possession," Neiman said, adding: "If you are the individual that provided that knife (to the police officer) we would love to have you contact our Robbery Homicide Division."
Authorities have not described the knife but the celebrity website TMZ reported it was a kind of folding knife typically used in hunting and fishing.
NBC News, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported that it was a smaller, relatively inexpensive utility-style blade typically carried by construction workers or other laborers and inconsistent with it being the murder weapon.
Legal experts said Simpson could not be put on trial for the murders again because of the doctrine of double jeopardy.
"There really are no exceptions. Once somebody has been found not guilty of a crime, he cannot be charged with that crime again, under any circumstances," said University of Southern California law professor Michael Brennan, a former criminal defense attorney. "O.J. could confess to the crimes and he couldn't be charged again."
Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the trial, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview she was pleased police were taking the find seriously, even if it was unlikely to lead to a new charges.
"The likelihood of any prosecution stemming from this evidence is very, very slim," she said. "But we have to find out what this means, what the truth of this is."
Clark also said she believed it was possible that DNA evidence could be lifted from the blade that could shed light on the case.
Simpson was found liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman by a civil court jury in 1997 and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims' families, a judgment that has remained largely unfulfilled.
He was convicted in Las Vegas in 2008 of kidnapping and robbery in a bungled attempt to recover memorabilia from his storied football career and was sentenced to a prison term of up to 33 years.
Highlighting the enduring fascination the case holds for the American public, there were roughly 150 tweets per minute about O.J. Simpson on Friday, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.
Reports about the knife surfaced just as a popular new FX cable television drama series, "The People v. O.J. Simpson," chronicling the trial, is airing. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Chicago, Jill Serjeant in New York, Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Rigby and James Dalgleish)