A federal bankruptcy judge Friday awarded Ron Goldman’s family the rights to O.J. Simpson’s canceled book, “If I Did It,” which the Goldmans want to rename “Confessions of a Double Murderer.”
Goldman was slain along with Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994. The Goldmans want the book’s proceeds included as part of a nearly $33.5 million civil jury award they have been trying to collect for almost a decade.
The ruling “ensures that Mr. Simpson will never see another dime from this book,” said Paul Battista, an attorney for the Goldman family.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol ruled that Lorraine Brooke Associates, which owned the rights to the book, can be considered as belonging to the former football star. The company is run by Simpson’s daughter, Arnelle.
O.J. Simpson’s book contract with HarperCollins, and a money trail showing $630,000 transferred from the publisher to LBA and then to Simpson for his expenses, confirm his connection to the company, Cristol said.
LBA was “clearly accomplished to perpetuate a fraud,” Cristol said.
Kendrick Whittle, the attorney for Simpson’s daughter, said he had not decided yet if he would appeal. Arnelle Simpson attended the hearing but did not speak with reporters afterward.
Whittle said Cristol’s ruling set a “scary” precedent: “What if she opens another business tomorrow? Are the Goldmans allowed to pursue that, too? Where do they stop?”
O.J. Simpson has maintained his innocence since his 1995 acquittal in the killings; a civil jury later found him liable.
In the book, Simpson explains how he might have committed the slayings. HarperCollins had planned to publish it, but canceled the deal with Simpson after public outrage.
The book’s rights now pass to an independent trustee, Drew Dillworth, who will decide what to do with them, Battista said. A manuscript of the book was given to the trustee Friday, Whittle said.
Dillworth’s attorney, Brian Rich, said they will now attempt to try to sell the rights to everything pertaining to the book and the HarperCollins contract “so that there will be funds to pay creditors of LBA, including the Goldmans.”
Rich said there have been expressions of interest in buying the rights, but would not say who they were from.
Arnelle Simpson testified in a deposition Wednesday that the book was her idea, Battista said at Friday’s hearing.
“LBA was to baby-sit — her words — baby-sit the book to make sure everything would go smoothly,” Battista said.
Arnelle Simpson had sought to reorganize her company, which would have allowed her to maintain temporary control over the book’s rights.
“I Did It,” or possibly “Confessions of an Acquitted Murderer.”