This morning we had Fred and Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman's father and sister, on the show to talk about O.J. Simpson's controversial book, "If I did It" which hits shelves today after a year of legal battles over its publication. WATCH VIDEO
There are two large components to this controversy: the legal implications that led to the Goldman's getting the rights to the book and then publishing it, and the emotional and passionate fight that all sides involved have made over the the text. I spoke with the Goldman's lawyer, Peter Haven, before the segment to hear about the legal situation, and followed up with Fred and Kim after their segment to ask a little more about their personal journey.
Q: Can you explain how the bankruptcy court's ruling on O.J.'s book meant it eventually had to be published?
Peter: When O.J. pushed his company into bankruptcy, which owned the rights to the book, he believed it would either be destroyed, or he would eventually get it back in his own hands. What actually happened is that when the company declared bankruptcy, the book became an asset of the company, just like a house or a car or any other possession. So the book had to be sold, and the bankruptcy court mandated the book be monetized. That means it's going to be published one way or another; if a house is mandated to be sold in bankruptcy court a homeowner will buy it, and if a book is sold, a publisher will buy it.
Once we decided to publish it on our own terms, we had the opportunity to put a total turn on it - we took the word "If" in the title and made it tiny on the cover - so you really see, "I Did It." We got to add a foreword giving our position.
Q: What about the fact that this book is...creepy, or disgusting, if it is true?
Peter: You know, this book is similar to a horror movie which is more terrifying when you don't see the monster. Your imagination makes it much worse than it actually is. The same is true of this book. O.J. really believes he is the center of the universe - that's what you get from the book. You are left with the impression that he is painting an inaccurate picture of Nicole, and that he is an idiot for confessing in this way. He really thinks people will read this and say, "It's not really O.J.'s fault, anyone would have done that..."
Q: Do you sleep well at night?
Peter: I sleep very well at night. The Goldmans have been victims without recourse for years, and as horrible as this book is, it is something he coveted that they took away from him. It gave them power, and I believe it has transformed them.
Q: Kim, you have been fighting this man, O.J. Simpson, for over ten years. You must think of him every day - how do you deal with that?
Kim: It's like having another appendage. It becomes part of your existence. Do I think of O.J. every day? No. I think of my brother every day, and the loss his death created in my life.
Fred: I think of Ron constantly. I feel a natural warmth when I think of my son. But after thinking of Ron, I immediately have the thought that he was murdered by a monster and my feelings turn to hate. The two are sadly connected forever.
Q: How do you keep that hatred from taking over? How are you able to be a parent, or a grandparent, and enjoy any part of life?
Kim: You make room for it. We can't let him dictate our lives. It just becomes so much a part of what we do - you have to find a way to compartmentalize.
Fred: I have a beautiful daughter, I have a beautiful grandson, I have a wife and stepkids and amazing friends. If it was not for all of them, it would be a lot harder. But I think Ron would want us to find peace. It would do Ron a dishonor to let the hatred for that monster take over.
Kim: Ron suffered the most pain anyone could suffer when he was killed. There's nothing I can feel that even comes close to that. So there's really no other option, you have to make room for it. People ask me all the time, 'How do you cope?' and I answer: I honestly don't know. I just...
Fred: You just do.
Q: Peter, your lawyer, was telling me about the legal implications of the ruling in bankruptcy court. What was that conversation like, when he sat you down and told you your options?
Kim: It took more than one conversation, that's for sure. When he told us that the book was going to end up published, we were kicking and screaming. We were so torn about going down that road and we were worried about Nicole's family and the kids. But as we kept uncovering information - the kids had signed off on it, O.J. would be getting the proceeds, we decided we needed to take something back.
Fred: The bottom line is that we got the rights through the court. And the bankruptcy court required the book rights be monetized. I made a promise to the judge that I would maximize the asset and have it monetized.
Kim: My father and I started a foundation - the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, and a portion of the proceeds will go to that. Also, the children will receive a portion of the money as well, whereas when it was in O.J.'s hands they weren't seeing any of it.
Q: Do either of you sleep well at night?
Kim: I am a horrible sleeper. I've had insomnia since my brother was killed.
Fred: I haven't slept well since Ron died.