O.J.'s Book: Back by Next Christmas?

  • Share
  • Read Later

O.J. Simpson during an exclusive interview about how the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman would have taken place had he actually committed the crimes.

O.J. Simpson's ill-fated homicidal fantasy If I Did It may yet see the light of day. One of the major publishing fiascos of 2006, the volume was abruptly pulled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. right before it was due to land on store shelves in late November, the victim of widespread public outrage. But the title itself, like a bad penny, may resurface, perhaps before the end of 2007.

With the exception of some copies pilfered from warehouses, the entire 400,000 print run of If I Did It — in which Simpson "hypothesized" how he would have killed his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman — was slated to be destroyed. As with most celebrity tell-all tales, however, Simpson's rights to the material will eventually revert back to him. Though the exact contractual language has not been made public, a source close to Simpson tells TIME that O.J. gets certain rights returned 12 months after the original publication date — which means he should be in a position to resell his book before next Christmas.

Several European publishers are said to be clamoring to print the story in their respective territories. Murdoch's high-profile rejection has only made the book more attractive. (Imagine the cover blurb: "The book that Rupert Murdoch doesn't want you to read!") Indeed, soon after the cancellation, says the source, Simpson's camp asked Murdoch's representatives to surrender the rights earlier than the original deal stipulates so that Simpson can cash in overseas.

Fred Goldman, Ron's father, filed a lawsuit last week against both Simpson and Lorraine Brooke Associates, described by Goldman's lawyer as a "sham entity" formed to funnel the book's proceeds to the ex-football star. Goldman hopes not only to retrieve the $880,000 he says News Corp. paid Simpson as an advance, but he also wants Murdoch's company to give him all rights to If I Did It — print, audio and other peripheral sources of income from the project. "There was originally an indication they might be open to such an idea [turning all profits over to the victims' families]," says Goldman. "If they want to be through with this, they should have no problem turning over those rights to us." Adds Goldman's attorney, Jonathan Polak, "We're seeking to unwind all the transactions, including the transfer of the intellectual property." And so, alas, we will have to expect new chapters in the history of the crime of the last century.