A judge Tuesday ordered that rights to O.J. Simpson’s aborted book, “If I Did It,” be sold at auction to help satisfy a civil judgment against the former football star — meaning the book could find its way into stores.
The ruling comes four months after Simpson’s book about how he could have committed the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, was scrubbed by News Corp. media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg’s decision comes at the request of Ron Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, who expressed outrage at the original publication of ”If I Did It” and now finds himself putting the manuscript back into circulation.
“The Goldmans were horrified as to the content, but the real horror was that Simpson was profiting,” Goldman’s lawyer, David Cook, said. “O.J. is now on the block. On the right hand we get to sell the book, and on the left we get the money.”
Cook said Goldman did not necessarily want the book published but had determined that the rights to “If I Did It” were one of Simpson’s few “visible assets.” The auction could be held within 30 days, Cook said.
Simpson’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
The former football star, who parlayed his fame as an athlete into a Hollywood career, was acquitted of the June 12, 1994, murders of his ex-wife and Goldman after a sensational trial that transfixed the country.
A civil court jury found Simpson liable for the deaths in 1997 and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the Brown and Goldman families.
Simpson has paid little of that judgment, but in recent months lawyers for Fred Goldman have aggressively pursued his film and TV earnings as well as the money from “If I Did It,” a quasi-confessional book in which Simpson described how he could have committed the murders.
Plans to publish “If I Did It” and broadcast an accompanying TV interview on the Fox network were canceled by Murdoch after a torrent of public outrage.
Publisher Judith Regan, who brokered the book deal and conducted the interview, was fired from her HarperCollins imprint, ReganBooks, about a month later. Both HarperCollins and Fox are units of News Corp.