Just days after a jury awarded him millions of O.J. Simpson’s money, Fred Goldman said Wednesday that he would forfeit his right to collect even one penny if Simpson would publicly confess to being a killer--but the former football star promptly turned down the deal.
“No matter how much money I am offered, I would never confess to a crime which I did not commit,” Simpson said through one of his attorneys.
Simpson has always insisted that he had nothing to do with the June 12, 1994, slayings of his ex-wife Nicole and Goldman’s son, Ronald. But a civil jury last week found him liable for the killings and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages.
After the verdicts, Goldman dismissed the stunning damage award as unimportant, repeating again and again that the civil case was about assigning responsibility, not collecting cash. “If [Simpson] wants to make a signed confession with all the details and print it in newspapers all over this country and around the world, we’ll be glad to ignore the judgment,” Goldman vowed Wednesday.
In offering to give up his hard-won millions, Goldman also volunteered his attorneys for a bit of unanticipated altruism.
His lawyers worked on the case on a contingency basis, expecting to receive a percentage of any money Goldman collects. Although they would not disclose the contingency fee, a typical arrangement would allow them to take 35 to 40 cents of every dollar Simpson pays Goldman.
Still, lead attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli applauded his client’s offer. “We’ve all said from Day 1 that this case was never about money,” he said.
Goldman’s share of the total judgment is still not fixed. He is entitled to half the $12.5 million in punitive damages awarded to his son’s estate, plus an undetermined percentage of the $8.5 million in compensatory damages. Ronald Goldman’s mother, Sharon Rufo, will share both those judgments. In addition, the two young children of O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson won another $12.5 million in punitive damages.
Rufo’s attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Lawyer Gloria Allred, a spokeswoman for the Browns, said they would not discuss Goldman’s offer.