CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

Simpson subpoenaed in wrongful death suit


October 7, 1995
Web posted at: 10:30 a.m. EDT

From Reporter Jennifer Auther

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson has been subpoenaed to give a deposition Oct. 16 in a wrongful death suit brought by murder victim Ronald Goldman's family, Goldman attorney Robert Tourtelot said.

"We expect Mr. Simpson to be in our conference room answering questions," Tourtelot said Friday. "There's going to be a lot of interesting questions about different statements."

Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran could not be reached for comment, but the Goldman lawsuit -- and one from the family of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson -- could keep Simpson tied up in litigation for the next several years.

court room

"They want money. They want punitive damages," said Simpson attorney Carl Douglas. "It's going to be a little harder than they thought it would be when the lawsuit was first filed. But it is not over." (111K AIFF sound or 111K WAV sound)

The Goldmans' attorneys allege in their complaint that O.J. Simpson murdered their son and Nicole Brown Simpson. (77K AIFF sound or 77K WAV sound)

"In this instance, since the activities involving Ron Goldman's and Nicole's deaths were clearly intentional, not negligent, this is the most serious form of civil action and therefore damages are going to be very, very steep," law professor Robert Pugsley explained.

Tourtelot acknowledged that the Goldmans' suit would seek high damages. "I would say if (Simpson) walks away with more than 10 cents, we probably haven't received all the justice we should get," the attorney said.

The civil trials will differ in many ways from the criminal trial in which Simpson was found not guilty. Only nine of 12 jurors will have to agree for either side to win. And the burden of proof is much lower in civil cases. The Brown and Goldman families only need prove what's called "a preponderance of evidence."

"As long as the plaintiff's position is more likely or probable than the defendant's position the verdict will go to the plaintiff," Pugsley explained.


Tourtelot said that Simpson's attorneys would have a harder time in the civil courtroom.

"When Mr. Simpson puts on the glove for us, he ain't going to have any latex glove down there and he ain't going to be stretching his hand out..." Tourtelot said. "We're going to see that he puts it on normally. And you know what? It's going to fit. So, there won't be any Mr. Cochran running around, `If it don't fit, you gotta acquit.'" (187K AIFF sound or 187K WAV sound)

The civil suits were filed, not in Los Angeles, but in Santa Monica. O.J. Simpson will be facing a much different jury there during his civil litigation than he faced in downtown Los Angeles.

"I don't think you'll find that nine out of the 12 jurors on the Santa Monica jury, since they take from a different panel, will be African-Americans," Tourtelot said. "Frankly, I don't think you're going to find one of them standing up afterwards giving a black power salute." (179K AIFF sound or 179K WAV sound)

What's more, O.J. Simpson may have to tell these jurors in his own words what happened the night of June 12, 1994. In a civil trial, if you have any information, you cannot take the Fifth Amendment.


Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.