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Rights sought to `If I Did It'

April 13, 2007|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

The estate of Nicole Brown Simpson is seeking a court order for permission to bid on the book rights to O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It" at a sheriff's auction Tuesday in Sacramento.

In the book, the former NFL star explains in graphic detail how the killings of his ex-wife and her friend, Ron Goldman, might have been carried out.

Greg K. Hafif, the attorney for the Nicole Brown Simpson estate, said the estate wants the judge in the case to allow it to take a portion of the $33.5-million civil judgment won from O.J. Simpson and use it as a "credit bid" on the book during the auction. He added that the goal would be to "make sure this book is never published."

Hafif called on Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman's father, to join with them in making the bid.

But David J. Cook, the lawyer who won a court order in February that gave the Goldmans the rights to the book, objected to the legal maneuver by the estate.

Cook noted that the Goldmans have spent the last decade trying to collect from O.J. Simpson -- the judgment has since grown to nearly $40 million -- and criticized the Brown estate for coming in so late.

Maybe the estate has "a beef with their lawyers," Cook said, "but they didn't have the savvy or the intelligence or whatever to go out and do this."

He added: "We all share the tragedy for the Browns, and they have lots of tears, and our tears are their tears, but they have to stop crying and move forward."

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg ordered the auction, specifying that all proceeds from the sale and any profit from a resulting book be given to the Goldman family.

In November, HarperCollins canceled the book's publication amid protests and fired Judith Regan, the high-profile editor who had shepherded the project. Sacramento was chosen as the auction site because that is where the California headquarters of HarperCollins is.

Yale Galanter, the attorney for O.J. Simpson, said: "We want the book dead. We are very happy with the fact that HarperCollins said they never want the book to see the light of day." He noted that Simpson has been paid $890,000 for the book.

A hearing on the estate's request is scheduled to be heard today by Rosenberg in Santa Monica, the attorneys said.

robert.welkos@latimes.com

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