O.J. Simpson rejected a challenge from Fred Goldman on Wednesday that would have allowed the football great to avoid millions in damages if he signed a confession admitting he is a killer.
“No matter how much money I am offered, I would never confess to a crime which I did not commit,” Simpson said through attorney Phillip Baker.
Goldman earlier said in a telephone interview: “I don’t want to play games. But if he wanted to sign a confession with all the details of his crime and broadcast it all over the country and publish it all over the nation, I would drop the judgment.”
The aggrieved father who never accepted Simpson’s murder acquittal 16 months ago and doggedly pursued him to civil court added: “All I ever wanted is justice. It’s never been an issue about money.”
Goldman had acknowledged that the chance of Simpson taking him up on the offer was slim to none.
“Easy to say, easy to do, never going to happen,” Goldman predicted when he first revealed the offer Tuesday on the Dallas-based Salem Radio Network. “This person hasn’t owned responsibility for any of his actions through his lifetime.”
Simpson swore on the witness stand it was “absolutely untrue” that he slashed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman to death on June 12, 1994.
But a civil jury that didn’t believe him found him liable for the crimes and socked him with compensatory and punitive damages totaling $33.5 million - more than double what even his accusers predicted he could ever pay.
Goldman stands to collect at least half of $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $12.5 million in punitive damages. He has to split both with his ex-wife, Sharon Rufo. Nicole Simpson’s estate, whose beneficiaries are the two children she had with Simpson, gets $12.5 million in punitive damages.
Goldman’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, backed his client on the offer, even if it meant he would have to give up his contingency fee if Simpson accepted.
“It would also do a great deal to heal the wounds in this country if we could put this to rest.”
Loyola University Law School Associate Dean Laurie Levenson said Goldman’s offer was more symbolic than realistic.
“I think there is an ongoing frustration by Fred Goldman to get O.J. to care,” Levenson said. “He is looking for satisfaction and the money would never be satisfaction. He is trying to get through the denial and he’s willing to pay millions of dollars for that.”
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