No matter how O.J. Simpson’s hotel-room robbery trial plays out, he can plan on seeing Fred Goldman’s lawyers in court again.
A taciturn 66-year-old whose gray hair and handlebar mustache have made him familiar to followers of the Simpson saga, Goldman speaks forcefully but rarely angrily when he talks of hounding the former football star he believes stabbed his son, Ron Goldman, and Simpson’s ex-wife to death in 1994.
“Our intent is to continue to pursue him, to continue to hold him accountable and responsible for Ron’s murder,” he said during a recent phone interview from his daughter’s home in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita. “And we’re going to continue to do that until he’s dead.”
Although the discussion is all about Simpson, Goldman never mentions him by name, choosing words like “monster,” “killer” and “trash.”
Simpson was acquitted of murdering Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson in one of the most divisive verdicts in U.S. history. But Goldman and Brown’s family sued him for wrongful death, and Goldman won the lion’s share of a $33.5 million judgment.
When Simpson pleaded poverty, Goldman went after every asset he had but lost round after round of the legal fight. The award was tied up through several years of appeals and Simpson hid his earnings through sham corporations, Goldman said.
In a typical setback, Goldman thought he had laid claim to an expensive Rolex watch, only to learn it was a Chinese knockoff worth so little the court made him give it back.
There were small victories along the way, including an auction of rugs, lamps, golf clubs, and Simpson’s Heisman Trophy that raised an estimated $500,000. All of that, Goldman’s lawyers said, went to cover legal expenses.
“We (also) took away his royalties from his B movies,” Goldman said. “We’ve broken a small trust that he had. We’ve got a small bank account that he had.”
In all, he estimates he’s netted maybe $5,000 after expenses.
But earlier this year Goldman hit the jackpot. He won the rights to Simpson’s book, “If I Did It,” an ostensibly fictional account of how he would have committed the murders. Retitled by Goldman “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer,” it quickly became a New York Times best-seller.
With a court having earmarked 90 percent of its royalties for Goldman, he could eventually win a substantial sum, although he says he hasn’t seen any money yet.
Goldman seeks Vegas memorabilia items
When news broke that Simpson was in trouble in Las Vegas for a Sept. 13 armed heist of sports memorabilia he claimed had been stolen from him, Goldman’s lawyers were back in court so fast that Goldman obtained an order to get the items before Simpson was arrested. The items, including photos, footballs and jerseys, could fetch tens of thousands of dollars if they are found to belong to Simpson.
Goldman’s $19 million share of the judgment has risen to approximately $39 million with interest, but he knows it’s unlikely he’ll ever collect more than a fraction, no matter how many court battles he wins.
He plans to donate a portion of the book’s proceeds to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Criminal Justice that he and his daughter recently established. They hope it can help families of crime victims.
Goldman admitted he did find something to smile about in Simpson’s latest arrest, expressing incredulity that he would have burst into a hotel room instead of simply calling the police.
Occasionally, he acknowledged, people will tell him it’s time to let the past go and get on with his life.
He can’t do that.
“My son on the night of June 12, 1994, made a choice to stand and fight and didn’t run away. And we’re not going to run away,” Goldman said. “It wouldn’t serve to honor Ron’s memory to walk away and pretend like it never happened.”