Simpson in the Clear

O.J. Simpson's forthcoming book and two-part interview about the murders of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman, tentatively titled, "If I Did It," are unlikely to land him in any legal trouble.

Legal experts who spoke with ABC News' Law & Justice Unit said that new prosecutions were virtually impossible, and that while there was a prospect of the victims' families recovering Simpson's profits, financial maneuvers might keep the money out of their hands.

In a seemingly unprecedented publishing sleight of hand, the book is being touted as a work of fiction.

However, publisher Judith Regan told The Associated Press on Wednesday that "this is an historic case, and I consider this his confession."

In a promotional news release from Harper Collins, Simpson is quoted as saying, "I'm going to tell you a story you've never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it."

"It takes place on the night of June 12, 1994, and it concerns the murder of my ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her young friend, Ronald Goldman," Simpson says. "I want you to forget everything you think you know about that night, because I know the facts better than anyone."

But the release goes on to say that the book will provide "for the first time ever, a bone-chilling account of the night of the murders, in which Simpson pictures himself at the center of the action."

The nature and promotion of the book and interview raise a series of legal questions.

The Goldman and Brown families were awarded $33.5 million in a 1997 wrongful death civil lawsuit that found Simpson liable for the deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman.

Will the Goldmans Get the Profits?

The details of Simpson's financial arrangement with his publisher remain a secret. While it has been reported that Simpson was paid $3.5 million for the book and interview, his former attorney Yale Galanter -- who told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit that he had nothing to do with this deal -- said he had been told Simpson had received far less than that figure in an advance.

Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman's father, called the deal "morally disgusting" and questioned whether Regan had broken the law.

"I'm sure that if Regan paid him money, I'm sure she didn't write a check out to him," he told ABC News. "So shall we now believe and suspect that she was helping him avoid the [civil] judgment? I think the answer is, 'You can bet they didn't write a check out to him.'"

Brown family attorney John Q. Kelly told ABC News that "we're certainly going to go after any money that he seeks to get from any book or interview. … We're always watching."

And Daniel Petrocelli -- who represented the Goldmans in the wrongful death suit -- said the family could go to a judge in the state where the publisher's check was issued and ask a judge to garnish the profits and turn them over to the Goldman family.

Shaun Martin, civil procedure professor at the University of San Diego, said that under the legal requirements of a civil judgment, the Goldmans should be entitled to any money Simpson makes with the book.

But other lawyers who have followed the Simpson case predicted his lawyers would find a way to keep the money from going to the Goldman family.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A home damaged by a landslide Friday, April 18, 2014 in Jackson, Wyo. is shown in this aerial image provided by Tributary Environmental.
Tributary Environmental/AP Photo
null
Danny Martindale/Getty Images
PHOTO: Woman who received lab-grown vagina says she now has normal life.
Metropolitan Autonomous University and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine