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Friday, November 24, 2006

OJ Simpson's Blood Money

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22 (AP) — O. J. Simpson told The Associated Press that he had participated in the ill-fated “If I Did It” book and interview project for one reason: personal profit. He acknowledged that any financial gain would have been “blood money.”

“This was an opportunity for my kids to get their financial legacy,” Mr. Simpson said in interviews this week with The A.P. after the book deal was abandoned by its publisher.

“My kids understand,” he added. “I made it clear that it’s blood money, but it’s no different than any of the other writers who did books on this case.”

The book, said to describe how he theoretically could have committed the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald L. Goldman, had been scheduled for release on Nov. 30 after the showing of a two-part interview of Mr. Simpson on Fox on Monday and Wednesday.

The News Corporation, owner of Fox Broadcasting and the publisher HarperCollins, canceled the project after a public outcry and objections by advertisers and booksellers.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Mr. Simpson said the project was not a confession.

“I made it clear from the first day I met the writer that I wasn’t involved,” Mr. Simpson said on WTPS-AM in Miami. “I said, ‘I have nothing to confess.’ ”

In two telephone interviews with The A.P. this week from his Florida home, Mr. Simpson declined to say how much of an advance he received for the book but said it was less than the $3.5 million that had been reported. He said the money had already been spent, in part to meet tax obligations.

Mr. Simpson said he was convinced that the book would have been a best seller.

“My kids would have been coming into a lot of money,” he said, adding that he desperately needs the cash because his retirement money is dwindling.

Copies of “If I Did It” have begun showing up for sale on eBay, but HarperCollins said it had asked eBay to withdraw the listings.

At least two auctions for copies of the book appeared on eBay on Wednesday. One was later removed from the site, while another auction continued into the late afternoon.

Erin Crum, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins, said the company was “working with eBay to try to get the listings removed.” The books were the property of HarperCollins, Ms. Crum said, and any books sold would be considered stolen. The policy of eBay generally is not to investigate items offered for auction.

The bids on one of the auctions on Wednesday reached $2,500 before a bidder offered $50,000. Archives of eBay show that three copies apparently sold for $100 apiece earlier in the week, after HarperCollins announced it was withdrawing the book.

Staying Safe from Financial Predators


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