By BRIAN MELLEY
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) – O.J. Simpson dodged an effort Tuesday to force him to turn over cash he pockets from signing autographs to satisfy a $70 million-plus civil judgment for the 1994 killings of the former football star’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
The ruling in Los Angeles County Superior Court was the latest setback in the dogged efforts by Goldman’s father, Fred, to get Simpson to pay up for a wrongful death lawsuit verdict that has doubled with interest over two decades.
Judge Gerald Rosenberg told attorney David Cook that he needs to identify who paid Simpson in order to go after proceeds from autograph signings and celebrity appearances.
Simpson was paid to sign jerseys, helmets and posters from “The People v. O.J. Simpson” TV series in October, shortly after his release from a Nevada prison, Cook said. Simpson’s lawyers said the money went to pay his legal bills.
Simpson, 70, served nine years for armed robbery and assault for leading five men, two with guns, into a Las Vegas casino hotel in September 2007 in an ill-conceived effort to confront two sports collectibles dealers over what he claimed was his property.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer was acquitted of two counts of murder in the 1994 slayings of his ex and Ron Goldman, but a civil court jury found him liable for wrongful death and ordered him to pay $33.5 million.
Fred Goldman has hounded Simpson for years and Cook contends the former football star has never willingly paid a cent of the court order.
“Mr. Simpson has stated repeatedly he will never pay Fred Goldman on a voluntary basis,” Cook said. “Simpson from our point of view is a denier. He’s denied everything and we’re getting another round of it where he’s said, ‘I was acquitted, the wrongful death judgment means nothing to me.’ It doesn’t work that way, folks.”
Goldman has repeatedly turned down possible deals to settle the case that included an offer about 20 years ago of about $5 million and potentially 25 percent of gross revenues Simpson could have earned going forward, said Ronald Slates, one of Simpson’s lawyers.
“All this talk about O.J. Simpson not contributing monies, not being willing to deal are outright, well, let’s not call it lies, outright improper representations,” Slates said. “Nothing we can do, God knows, can bring back Ron Goldman. That’s a tragedy. But to prolong that for 21 years and not take a dime just because you want to teach Mr. Simpson a lesson and you teach him a lesson by not letting him work, that’s just not right.”
While most of the court award has been unpaid, Fred Goldman has been able to seize some of Simpson’s assets, including video game royalties and the rights to the book “If I Did It,” a ghostwritten account in which Simpson tells how he might have killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman.
Goldman was also able to acquire memorabilia in the hotel room that Simpson raided in Las Vegas. But Cook said most of it ended up being worthless and they returned the property to Simpson.
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