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O.J.'s book proceeds will go to Goldman family

  • Story Highlights
  • Family of slain Ron Goldman will get 90 percent of proceeds from "If I did it"
  • The remaining 10 percent will go to pay off O.J.'s creditors
  • Ron Goldman's father cried in court after the ruling
  • O.J. Simpson's original plan to publish book was scrapped amid controversy
  • Next Article in U.S. »
From Patrick Oppmann and Susan Candiotti
CNN
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A federal bankruptcy judge Monday awarded 90 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the rights to O.J. Simpson's book "If I Did It" to the family of Ron Goldman, who was slain alongside Simpson's wife Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994.

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Fred Goldman has pursued O.J. Simpson in the courts for more than a decade.

The remaining 10 percent will go to a trustee for the Simpson estate to pay the former football star's creditors, including multimillion-dollar wrongful death judgments owed the Brown and Goldman families.

Simpson was acquitted of the brutal knife slayings in 1995, but a civil court found him liable for the deaths two years later.

Neither family has collected any money from him, lawyers for both families said.

Last month, the Goldmans won the right to pursue publishing rights of Simpson's alleged hypothetical account of the slayings.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jay Cristol approved the division plan subject to the court's supervision, adding that the purchaser of the book rights "must promise the court it will maximize the sale of the asset."

He said the parties to the division could address the court after 18 months if they have any objections to the manner the sale has been handled.

Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman's father, thanked the judge after his ruling, promising through tears to "pursue this in the same manner as we have for 13 years."

Despite taking 90 percent of the proceeds of the sale of the book rights, Goldman's $38 million judgment against Simpson still stands. He agreed, however, to drop his claim to the bottom of the list, meaning other creditors will be paid before he is paid.

Other creditors include the $24 million judgment for the Brown family; $15,000 for a former Simpson attorney; $20,000 for another attorney; $350,000 for the book's ghostwriter and another $300,000 for a pair of law firms.

Although they oppose publication of the book, the Brown family sued for a higher percentage of the proceeds. Attorneys for the Browns argued in court Monday that the deal was unfair to other creditors and that it allowed "the Goldman family to run the show." But in the end, Cristol did not agree.

Initially, both Goldman and the Brown family blasted the publishers of "If I Did It" and said they never wanted the book to be available in stores.

After plans to publish the account were scrapped and the book's publisher was fired, Goldman changed his mind and said he wanted to publish the book himself and receive the bulk of the profits.

"Whether (Simpson) calls it a work of fiction or not, or non-fiction, the fact is that he murdered two people, and I'd like everybody to hear him virtually say it," Goldman said during an appearance last month on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

The Brown family remains opposed to the publication

"This book should not be published," Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, told CNN. "I have said this over and over again. It's a manual to commit murder."

The attorney for the Browns left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

After Monday's hearing, Fred Goldman said in the beginning he agreed the book was "a how-to book," but after reading it decided it was "just an indictment of what this man did."

He said he did not plan to publish the book as Simpson wrote it, but would elaborate on the details of what happened and provide more background information.

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David Cook, Goldman's lawyer, said after the hearing that the Goldmans had "sent out feelers" to publishers, but he could not predict the book's future. He said, however, he is "certain" the Goldmans will be able to sell the book rights and do well because a high interest in the case remains.

Earlier, Cook said Goldman is considering retitling the book "Confessions of a Double Murderer." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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