Even If OJ Simpson Earns Big Bucks, He Can’t Keep His Money

Parents of murder victim Ron Goldman have a right to most future of Simpson’s cash

OJ Simpson If I Did It book cover

O.J. Simpson has little interest in returning to the media spotlight, according to one of his letters read by his lawyer during his parole hearing in Nevada on Thursday.

He did mention, however, that he might start a blog. Perhaps after spending time out of prison, the former USC football star might change his mind and try to sign up for a reality TV show, appear in a film or movie again, or star in an advertisement, as he famously did years ago for Hertz. Or maybe he’ll return to selling memorabilia and autographs.

If the Heisman Trophy winner does return to Hollywood or any other money-making venture, he won’t be able to keep a cent. Unless he makes more than $30 million.

That’s because Simpson still owes millions of dollars to the parents of Ron Goldman, the man who was killed in the 1994 knife attack along with Nicole Brown Simpson on the doorstep of her home.

Fred Goldman and his then-wife, Sharon Rufo, won a $33.5 million judgment in 1997 after bringing a wrongful death trial in Santa Monica, California, where a civil jury found that Simpson killed Brown and Goldman.

The judgment means the Goldmans have a right to attach a lien to any future earnings by Simpson. But they have collected very little of the judgment to date.

“People assume that when we were awarded our civil judgment, that with that judgment we were handed a pot of gold, and that’s just the furthest thing from the truth,” Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman’s sister, told CNBC in 2014.

The Goldmans used the $33.5 million judgment to obtain control of Simpson’s rights in his 2006 ghostwritten, hypothetic book about the double murder, “If I Did It.”

They were criticized for selling the book, but they said they were required by a bankruptcy court to publish it to earn money to pay all of Simpson’s debtors. At the time, Simpson had declared bankruptcy.

If Simpson were to write another book or be paid to assist with a movie, play, television project about the double murder, the Goldmans won’t be able to use the “Son of Sam” laws to seize Simpson’s earnings. The “Son of Sam” laws allow victims to seize any money paid to the convicted person to tell their story about the crime.

The laws only apply to criminal cases, not civil cases. Because Simpson was never convicted of committing the double murder and “was only found civilly liable for the killing of his wife” and Ron Goldman, Jane Kirtley, a journalism professor at the University of Minnesota, told TheWrap.

Simpson has the right to keep his monthly NFL pension because Florida law exempt pensions from civil judgments. ESPN calculated that Simpson, 70, could receive as much as $10,565 a month from the NFL, assuming he didn’t start collecting his pension until he was 65.

He could also receive SAG payments for his on-camera work, although that could be taken by the Goldmans.

Florida law also exempts Simpson’s home from the Goldmans’ judgment. Simpson lost his Florida home to foreclosure while in prison, but he might buy another house if he returns to Florida.

Daniel Petrocelli, the lawyer who represented the Goldmans in the wrongful death against Simpson, did not respond to a request for comment by TheWrap.