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Families reflect ten years after O.J. verdict

Goldmans and Denise Brown discuss their feelings with Dan Abrams

It's was 10 years ago on Monday that the not-guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson was handed down. Afterward, there were better days for the Goldmans and Nicole Brown Simpson's family. In February 1997, a jury in a civil proceeding found Simpson liable for Ron Goldman and Nicole's deaths.  Simpson's income is supposed to go to pay a $33 million judgment in that suit. 

As a practical matter, apparently what that did is help push Simpson out of Southern California to Florida.  California law allows Simpson to keep his $4 million pension from his days as an NFL running back.  Florida law prevents creditors from taking his home.  He still makes appearances, including an autograph session at a Halloween-themed comic book convention over the weekend.  But the basic facts remain the same: O.J. is a free man; the criminal trial cannot be repeated. 

On Monday, Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, joined MSNBC's Dan Abrams along with Fred Goldman, Ron's father and Kim Goldman, his sister.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

DAN ABRAMS:  Let me ask you first, Fred -- before we talk about, O.J. and this nonsense with the signing of the autographs.  Let me just ask you -- 10 years have gone by -- how has life been these last 10 years? 

FRED GOLDMAN:  Well, I think the quickest and simplest answer is, life has been short having Ron with us.  We haven't had the joy of having him share in everything that's happened.  We haven't had him part of our daily life, and we haven't been able to hear his laughter and share in his dreams, and that's an ongoing issue. 

ABRAMS:  Kim, do you still get frustrated thinking about the verdict? 

KIM GOLDMAN:  Absolutely, I get frustrated.  I mean, seeing him, you know, walking the streets and waving his hands and basically snubbing the entire country in honoring the judgment against him, it's frustrating that he has those liberties that my brother obviously doesn't have, and Nicole doesn't have.  So, of course, I get frustrated. 

ABRAMS:  Denise, because of the kids, do you and your family still have to deal with him. 

DENISE BROWN, NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON'S SISTER:  My parents do.  My mother deals with him, yes.  Now that they're getting older, it's not that big of an issue anymore. ... I just want to say one more thing, that the civil suit -- the monies would go to estate of Sydney and Justin, not to the Brown family. 

ABRAMS:  OK, that's a fair correction, and I thank you for that. 

Let's talk about that for a moment.  Fred, look, at this point, none of you are in it for the money.  At this point, there's no way anyone, I should say, at this point, you don't expect to get it  -- any money from O.J. Simpson. ...

F. GOLDMAN:  Well, you know what, it's outrageous.  He has made it clear, for 10 years now, that he has no intention of honoring the judgment.  He has stated it, unequivocally, over and over again. The one thing is that he continues to do is earn money, have it conveyed to him through others, and skirts the ability -- or the requirement, if you would --  to pay any portion of the judgment. 

My problem is very simple:  He's never ever been punished in any way, shape, or form, and the financial punishment is the only punishment that we have hope in. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  This is O.J. Simpson talking about the very issue that Fred is talking about: 

--Begin video clip-- O.J. SIMPSON, FORMER DEFENDANT:  I've said this so many times, I've said it to Fred's face in hearings.  If I have to work to pay them, I won't work.  It's that simple.  So I'll just play golf every day.  --End video clip--

ABRAMS:  Kim, were you surprised to see O.J. Simpson signing  ... autographs? 

K. GOLDMAN:  No, it happens often.  I wasn't sure why this one was put in the newspapers. Maybe it was because it was a horror comic book convention, which I thought was appropriate.  But it happens often.  We get - you know, I was called to my office a couple months ago about an event that he was doing down in Florida that we successfully stopped from happening. 

So what's frustrating for us is, you know, 10 years ago, he was set free, and he was so thankful for the system that was willing to give him his freedom back, but now he he's willing to walk around and not honor it, which I think is incredibly hypocritical.  And you'd think that you would be praising the system and bowing down to the justice system. 

Instead, he's basically saying, "I don't care about it.  I don't care what you have to say to me, I'm not going to hold myself accountable to it, and everybody else can just watch me play golf." 

ABRAMS:  Denise, are you afraid that, as time passes - (there were a) number of younger people who were there paying, again paying, for O.J. Simpson's autograph.  Are you concerned that as time passes, some people who weren't around during the trial, didn't get to watch the trial, et cetera, are going to forget the details? 

BROWN:  Well, I think it's up to Fred, Kim, and myself and everyone else out there, especially the media, as well, that we have the opportunity to keep Ron and Nicole's memory alive; that we can keep saying, you know, he murdered two people, and that he is walking free.  And I think that it's up to us to make people aware, to make these youngsters aware, these young people aware. 

I think it's in the history books now.  It's in a lot of the forensic classes.  It's all over the school. So I'm just hoping that there's intelligent people out there, and we keep fighting for those two that lost their lives, yes.  I just hope that they're never forgotten ever.  And, I think, that has to do with a lot of the work that we're doing, as well, because Nicole's houses are going to be popping up all over the place, and Nicole's name will be remembered. 

Kim is doing great work on behalf of Ron and children, and his name will be remembered, and that's our job, our duty for them. 

ABRAMS:  And I know, Kim, one of the hardest parts for you, even 10 years later, is the idea that Ron is not here to see your own children.

K. GOLDMAN:  I have a two-year-old, and it breaks my heart that the only way that Sammy knows his uncle is by visiting him at the gravesite or by a picture that I have on the wall - it's heartbreaking. 

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.