O.J. Simpson suffered a setback Wednesday when a judge refused to keep secret the transcript of his upcoming depositions in lawsuits filed by the families of the people Simpson was acquitted of murdering.
Superior Court Judge Allan B. Haber also said he probably will allow the depositions, or sworn testimony, to be videotaped with the tape immediately going to a private mediator for protection.
Simpson’s attorney, Robert C. Baker, called for sealing the transcript of Simpson’s deposition, contending that publicity about what could be an emotionally charged interview would prejudice potential jurors.
“There has been no trial or no situation in the history of recorded time with more attention … than this lawsuit,” Baker said.
Simpson is tentatively scheduled to meet with attorneys Dec. 4-6.
It was unclear after the hearing when and in what manner the transcripts would be made public, including whether they will be released in complete form or quoted in sections in court papers.
Simpson is being sued by relatives of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and by the family of Ronald Goldman.
Simpson has given some interviews - to The New York Times and to The Associated Press - but has refused to discuss details of the case. He never testified at his trial and the rulings mean the public will get Simpson’s side of the story in his own words when the transcript is ultimately released.
Baker also opposed videotaping the deposition because of fears the tape would be leaked to television news.
Baker said he was concerned that each deposition in the case “will be the lead story on the 6 p.m. news” subject to interpretation by legal pundits.
“We will get a jury pool that has made up its mind to a degree,” he said.
But the judge sided with attorneys for the Goldman family and Nicole Simpson’s estate that the transcripts and related court papers shouldn’t be sealed, and he denied Simpson’s request for a protective order.