Verdicts & Settlements
Slain Victim’s Kin Own OJ Book Rights
Posted Jul 3, 2007 1:52 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A highly controversial book authored by fallen football hero O.J. Simpson that some considered his confession to the 1994 murders of his former wife, Nicole, and a male companion, Ron Goldman, is now likely to be published after all. But if so the profits will go not to O.J. Simpson's family but to Goldman's.
To enforce a $33 million civil murder judgment against Simpson, who was criminally acquitted of the crimes in 1995 but found liable in a subsequent tort case in 1997, the Goldman family agreed yesterday to purchase the book rights from a bankruptcy trustee, AP reports.
"Ron Goldman LLC will own Simpson's name, likeness, signature and story and will hawk it to satisfy this terrible judgment. Justice has arrived in Miami," says David Cook, a lawyer representing the family. According to Cook and court documents, the Goldman family now also owns the book copyright, media rights and movie rights, as well as Simpson's life story and right of publicity concerning the book.
Originally titled "If I Did It," the book was withdrawn from publication last year due to a firestorm of criticism focused on concerns that an apparent murderer was seemingly profiting from his crime. The Goldman family now plans to re-title the book "Confessions of a Double Murderer" and shop it around, according to Cook. They agreed to pay a bankruptcy trustee 10 percent of the first $4 million in gross proceeds, and a further percentage of profits after that, according to AP.
The bankruptcy case was filed in Florida by Lorraine Brooks Associates, a company set up in the names of Simpson's children to receive money from his sale of the book. However, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol ruled that the company was a surrogate for Simpson, and thus had to turn over profits from the book to satisfy the Goldman family's judgment, ABC News and ABAJournal.com explained last month.