Judge freezes Simpson TV, movie funds


A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday barred O.J. Simpson from spending, at least for now, the advance for his aborted book "If I Did It" about the murders of his ex-wife and her friend.

Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg's ruling broadens a January restraining order sought by the father of murder victim Ron Goldman and marks the latest twist in an ongoing legal fight over the reported $1 million advance.

Rosenberg's January order prohibited Simpson from spending or moving funds from any past book or movie deals at least until a February 20 hearing -- but exempted the "If I Did It" advance because Fred Goldman had filed a separate case in federal court over that money.

The federal lawsuit has since been dismissed.

"If I Did It," and an accompanying TV interview were both squelched by News Corp. media tycoon Rupert 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.

While HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corp., retains the rights to the scrapped book, Simpson owns his story and could shop it to other publishers in another form.

"I can't stop Simpson from selling his book rights to the Martians, but if he does, the money lands in Judge Rosenberg's court," Goldman lawyer David Cook said of Wednesday's ruling.

Simpson's lead attorney, Yale Galanter, said the ruling did not significantly change the status of the case and he expected to prevail at the February 20 hearing.

Simpson was acquitted of the June 12, 1994, murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. But in 1997 a civil jury found him liable for their deaths and ordered the former football star to pay $33.5 million in damages to the Brown and Goldman families.

Rosenberg's new order stops Simpson from "transferring, conveying, expending, liquidating, encumbering, hiding, concealing or otherwise disposing" of proceeds from book, media or movie deals. He made an exemption for the payment of "ordinary living expenses."

Simpson, who has vowed never to voluntarily pay the 1997 judgment, has said he already spent the advance.