Juanita Watson, host: … today, I have on the program, Fred and Kim Goldman, the father and sister of Ron Goldman who was tragically murdered along with Nicole Brown Simpson in Brentwood CA in June of 1994.
In 2006, HarperCollins announced the publication of a book in which O.J. Simpson told how he hypothetically would have committed the murders. In response to public outrage that Simpson stood to profit from these crimes, HarperCollins canceled the book. A Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights to the Goldmans in August 2007 to partially satisfy the unpaid civil judgment, which has risen, with interest, to over $38 million.
Amidst much controversy and criticism, The Goldman family has recently published “If I Did It; Confessions of the Killer,” which they view as O.J.’s confession, and has worked hard to ensure that the public will read this book and learn the truth. This book is the original manuscript approved by O.J. Simpson, with up to 14,000 words of key additional commentary.
I’m very happy to have the Goldman’s on the show today, to talk about the journey they have been on to get the rights to this book, the confusion that has been created in the media around their story, and recent events that have OJ back in the spotlight.
Juanita: … So walk us through that; how you ended up with the rights to this book.
Fred: Well, first of all if we had it to again today, we would do the exact same thing. We spoke out against the book for several reasons. One, we wanted to stop him from making money on the murders of Ron and Nicole, and two, we were concerned as to what the contents of the book were, fearful that it might be the equivalent of a how to manual. Ultimately, we learned that he had already been paid close to $700,000 and was expecting more. He had another $300,000 coming as an advance. So unfortunately, he had already been paid. Additionally, once we were able to acquire a copy of the manuscript, we discovered that no, it wasn’t a manual on how to commit murder, but it’s a read that once you go through it, you have very little reason to believe that it was an admission of guilt, a confession. And we levied down the right on the book in order to prevent him from ever gaining any additional money, and in doing so, we ultimately because he and his kids who had formed a fraudulent company, formed a company to move the money from Harper Collins to the killer to avoid the judgment. And in doing so, they ultimately filed bankruptcy of that company in order to avoid, to stop us from getting the rights to the book. And it is through bankruptcy that the rights were awarded to us because the asset, the rights, had to be turned into money according to the bankruptcy court. And the bankruptcy court gave us the option to be involved in that. We chose to do that because we knew that there was a very good chance that the rights could ultimately have gone back to the killer, and we would have right back to square one. So we got involved and promised the court that we would do everything we could to monetize that asset.
Juanita: I’d like to know both of your reactions upon reading the book for the first time and going through, especially where he is talking that confrontation in the courtyard with Nicole and Ron. What were your reactions to reading this for the first time?
Fred: Well, for me if I can, I started it several times and had a hard time getting into it, but finally, I found it very disturbing, very disturbing because I realized that I was reading the words of the monster that murdered my son. And needless to say by the time we got to the specific chapter in which he talks about murdering Ron and Nicole, that was a real struggle for me and very painful. It was painful for the obvious reasons and it was additionally painful for me to listen to him review if you would how he taunted Ron and how he made fun of Ron. This man is a monster, a piece of trash, calling him a murderer isn’t enough.
Kim: I don’t know. I don’t know that I have much more to add. I think the first time I read it or I skimmed it, I was looking to see if there was anything descriptive in there. Because all the criticism was that we were publishing a murder manual. And then when I finally sat down in the quiet of my own state, I was incredibly moved by that paragraph, I mean by that chapter. For me, it didn’t deviate from the criminal case. I already knew the information, but hearing the killer sort of recount all of the emotion from that night and all of the excitement and I don’t mean that in a positive way, obviously, but like all of the energy that was happening, that was difficult for me because I’ve always wondered about those last couple of minutes of Ron’s life.
Juanita: How close to the truth do you feel that that text and that recollection is? Do you believe that that is pretty close to the truth?
Kim: I do. You know the only thing that was new information for me was the dog that was wagging his tail. You know, I guess it comes down to this for me at the end of the day. An innocent person wouldn’t write a book like this. An innocent person wouldn’t sit down and write a hypothetical about how he would have killed the mother of his children, an innocent person. So I walked into it believing that he was confessing, so everything that I read, I came from the mindset that it was pretty damn close to what happened that night. But for me I’m reading it from a place that this is his confession and I’m going to take what he is saying is the truth.
Fred: And additionally, I think it’s important to recognize that he does not contradict virtually any evidence at all. As a matter of fact, he in some ways explains things that were unknown. He makes a point of commenting on the route that he took back to his home from Nicole’s. And that’s how some thought it was one way. He’s going to clarify. He told you exactly how he drove home. Additionally, I think for me his commentary about being covered in blood and that at some point, he took off his clothes before getting into his car. He took off his outerwear and bundled it all together, which for me would explain why in fact, there wasn’t even more blood in the car. He is so arrogant that he ultimately ends of telling you virtually everything because quote un quote “he knows better than anyone” and he wants to be sure that you know that.
Juanita: … Did you have any other hopes for having this book on the shelves?
Kim: I think I know that my father and I feel very strongly about this is, you know most of the book is written about how his relationship was with Nicole and how abusive that relationship is, and so if there is an opportunity for a woman to read it and identify herself with Nicole and then someway have the courage and strength to get out of that relationship, then you know we’ve done a good thing. And I think I hope that people walk away with some hope in that regard if in fact they are in that situation. My father and I also added a victim’s resource section to this book, and we also are donating a portion of the proceeds to the Ron Goldman Foundation of Justice so we can help other victims of crimes sort of navigate themselves through this horrific process.
Juanita: So, how can listeners find out more about the Ron Goldman Foundation? Do you have a website?
Kim: RonGoldmanFoundation dot org … it’s in two stages … my father and I over the last 13 years have been volunteering our time to speak out on behalf of victim’’ rights and this is the first time from a financial position to try to contribute and help in some ways. So we have some ideas of how we want to further assist and I think it’s more partnering with the other organizations that are doing such amazing work on behalf of victims’ rights.
Juanita: What are the families that you have talked to that have read this book that you know have had family members in domestic abuse situations. What are their comments on this story and the point of view of an abuser?
Kim: We’ve had an enormous amount of email coming into the website. Again, once people understood our reasoning for doing it, people were very supportive. I had one woman in particular tell me that she appreciated that we were courageous enough to do this because it takes courage to fight your assailant no matter what if you’re in an abusive relationship or if you’re in this kind of situation, the courage it takes to do that, and she appreciated it because it reminded her of the courage it took her to leave her abusive husband … I think that unless you have walked in our shoes, you can’t completely embrace the struggle, and I don’t fault anybody for that, but that’s just, you know this is a commitment that we have made and this is a necessary thing that we for us to be doing to ensure that he’s held accountable.
Juanita: … I just wanted to let you both share any final thoughts that you would like to before we end today.
Fred: I think the only thing that’s important to always remember is that we would like to see a justice system that cares more about the victims in this country than it does about the criminals and the accused. And unfortunately right now, the term criminal justice system seems to very clearly define the system. Perhaps if it was called the victims’ justice system and clearly was more concerned about victims, we’d all be in a better as a country. Victims in this country account for enormous toll, enormous toll on our society, both physically and financially, and a system that works hard to ensure that violent people are put back out on the street is not the kind of system that I think most people in this country would like. So, as people get involved in the pain or reading about the kind of trauma that occurs from violent crime, hopefully they will begin to speak out as do victims already in this country to ultimately end up with a system that’s there for the vast majority of us instead of the few that commit all the crimes.
Kim: I also want to add specifically as it relates to this specific book that I hope that the next time someone goes to shake his hand or get an autograph from him that they are reminded that those are the hands that killed two people. And I hope that our efforts and the efforts of this country to ensure that justice prevails that he is pushed into a state of exile and you know and that he just sort of falls by the wayside. That would be fantastic for us.
Juanita: Wonderful, final thoughts. Thank you so much for talking to us today. Much sympathy for your loss and we certainly support you and your endeavors for victims of crimes. Thank you so much for your time today Fred and Kim.