Simpson's 'If I Did It' pay frozen


A judge has frozen the money O.J. Simpson was paid for his aborted book and interview deal following a lawsuit by the father of murder victim Ron Goldman, a lawyer in the case said on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real barred Simpson from spending his advance at least until a January 24 hearing on the lawsuit, said David Cook, Fred Goldman's attorney.

Cook said that at the hearing the judge could order Simpson to pay the advance money to the Goldmans or keep it frozen until a trial on the matter.

Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, could not be reached for comment.

The amount of the advance was never disclosed, but some reports have put it at around $1 million. Simpson has said he was paid less than that, and that he already spent the money.

A public furor over the book "If I Did It," in which Simpson muses over how he could have killed his ex-wife and Goldman, prompted News Corp. media tycoon Rupert Murdoch to scrap it and an accompanying television special in November.

Simpson was acquitted of the murders in 1995 after the so-called "Trial of the Century" but found liable for the deaths by a civil jury in 1997 and ordered to pay a $33.5 million judgment to the victims' families.

The Simpson book deal and television interview were brokered for News Corp.-owned publishing house HarperCollins by Judith Regan, who was fired about a month later amid accusations of anti-semitism.

Goldman's lawsuit claims that Simpson set up a straw corporation called Lorraine Brooke Associates to collect the book advance from HarperCollins so that he could avoid paying the $33.5 million judgment.

HarperCollins and News Corp. are not named in the lawsuit.