A judge on Tuesday turned down a legal move that sought to force O.J. Simpson to turn over profits from autographs to satisfy a $70 million-plus civil judgment for the 1994 killings of the former football star's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
Simpson is cashing in on the autographs since his release from prison following a robbery conviction and should pay the money toward the judgment, according to a lawyer for the family of Fred Goldman whose son was killed in 1994 along with Simpson's ex-wife. Attorney David Cook asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Tuesday to order Simpson to hand over future money he makes from celebrity appearances or autographing sports memorabilia to satisfy the judgment.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg denied the request on grounds that Goldman's father cannot identify who is paying Simpson.
"The court declined my relief, indicating that if I wanted to seek sports memorabilia money by this legal process, I have to identify the person who's paying it," Cook said outside court after the hearing. "In other words, who's actually buying this sports memorabilia?
"So as a result the court said, 'Well, I'm not going to grant this until you tell me who's writing the check.'"
Simpson was acquitted of two counts of murder in the 1994 slayings, but a civil court jury found him liable and ordered him to pay $33.5 million, which has more than doubled over two decades.
Goldman's father, Fred, has hounded Simpson for years and Cook said the former football star has never willingly paid a cent of the court order.
"Mr. Simpson has sought to subvert this wrongful death judgment by his abject refusal to pay, much less accept personal responsibility," Cook said in court papers.
Simpson sold autographs shortly after his release from a Nevada prison in October to pay legal bills and has no interest in signing memorabilia, one of his lawyers, Malcolm LaVergne, said in court papers objecting to any order relinquishing his right to publicity.
Goldman and Cook have "attempted to drag Mr. Simpson into court every time they hear a rumor, see something on television, or read in an internet news posting, a mere vague allegation involving Mr. Simpson's commercial exploitation of himself," attorney Ronald Slates wrote in court papers on behalf of Simpson.
While most of the court award has been unpaid, Fred Goldman has been able to seize some of the Pro Football Hall of Famer's assets, including video game royalties and the rights to the book "If I Did It," a ghostwritten account in which Simpson tells how he might have killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman.
Goldman was also able to acquire memorabilia Simpson claimed he was trying to take back when he led five men, two with guns, into a Las Vegas casino hotel in September 2007 to confront two sports collectibles dealers.
Simpson, 70, served nine years in Nevada state prison for armed robbery and assault with a weapon in an ill-fated bid to retrieve memorabilia.