Trustee to control rights to SImpson book
EmptyMIAMI -- An independent trustee will maintain control over a bankrupt company, owned by O.J. Simpson's children, which holds the rights to the canceled Simpson book "If I Did It," a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol paves the way for the family of slaying victim Ron Goldman to negotiate a deal to acquire the rights to the manuscript. In the book, Simpson explains how he would have committed the killings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman.
"This is a good day for the Goldmans," said their attorney Peter Haven. "We are much more likely to get a fair deal with the court and trustee than we are with the family of our adversary."
The book has been the subject of a legal fight between the former NFL star and Goldman's family. HarperCollins planned to publish it but canceled the deal following public outrage. Lorraine Brooke Associates, which names Simpson's oldest daughter, Arnelle, as its head, retains the rights to it.
Arnelle Simpson had sought to reorganize Lorraine Brook, which would have allowed her to maintain temporary control over it -- and possibly ensure that the book would not be sold to the Goldman family.
Cristol ruled that the company was in no position to be reorganized and should simply be liquidated.
"The single potential asset for sale is apparently something that is deeply embroiled in litigation and would likely not be available for sale any time soon," Cristol said.
Goldman's family alleges the company was simply a front for Simpson, who owes them $33.5 million under a wrongful death civil lawsuit, so he could hide an advance and potential book royalties.
Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1995.
Simpson got $630,000 out of a net $660,000 Lorraine Brooke received from Harper Collins, according to documents filed in Miami bankruptcy court.
A California judge had ordered the book rights to be auctioned off with proceeds from the auction and any subsequent book profits turned over to Goldman's family.
But Lorraine Brooke filed for bankruptcy last month in Florida, days before the auction was scheduled to take place, putting the sale on hold.
Leonardo Stark, an attorney for Lorraine Brooke who formerly worked for O.J. Simpson, testified Thursday the filing was due to mounting creditors and lawsuits and was unrelated to the auction.
Attorneys for the Goldmans insisted the move was an effort to stymie them from gaining rights to the book and collecting the judgment they have sought for roughly a decade.