NATIONAL NEWS

Executor of O.J. Simpson’s estate plans to fight payout to the families of Brown and Goldman

Apr 13, 2024, 3:45 PM

FILE - In this July 20, 2017 file photo, former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learnin...

FILE - In this July 20, 2017 file photo, former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev. Simpson, the decorated football superstar and Hollywood actor who was acquitted of charges he killed his former wife and her friend but later found liable in a separate civil trial, has died. He was 76.  (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool, File)

(Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The executor of O.J. Simpson’s estate says he will work to prevent a payout of a $33.5 million judgment awarded by a California civil jury nearly three decades ago in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Simpson’s will was filed Friday in a Clark County court in Nevada, naming his longtime lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, as the executor. The document shows Simpson’s property was placed into a trust that was created this year.

LaVergne told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the entirety of Simpson’s estate has not been tallied. Under Nevada law, an estate must go through the courts if its assets exceed $20,000.

Simpson died Wednesday without having paid the lion’s share of the civil judgment that was awarded in 1997 after jurors found him liable. With his assets set to go through the court probate process, the Goldman and Brown families could be in line to get paid a piece of whatever Simpson left behind.

LaVergne, who had represented Simpson since 2009, said he specifically didn’t want the Goldman family seeing any money from Simpson’s estate.

“It’s my hope that the Goldmans get zero, nothing,” he told the Review-Journal. “Them specifically. And I will do everything in my capacity as the executor or personal representative to try and ensure that they get nothing.”

LaVergne did not immediately return phone and email messages left by The Associated Press on Saturday.

Although the Brown and Goldman families have pushed for payment, LaVergne said there was never a court order forcing Simpson to pay the civil judgment. The attorney told the Review-Journal that his particular ire at the Goldman family stemmed in part from the events surrounding Simpson’s planned book, titled “If I Did It.” Goldman’s family won control of the manuscript and retitled the book “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.”

Simpson earned fame and fortune through football and show business, but his legacy was forever changed by the June 1994 knife slayings of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles. He was acquitted of criminal charges in 1995 in a trial that mesmerized the public.

Goldman’s father Fred Goldman, the lead plaintiff, always said the issue was never the money, it was only about holding Simpson responsible. And he said in a statement Thursday that with Simpson’s death, “the hope for true accountability has ended.”

The Goldman and Brown families will be on at least equal footing with other creditors and will probably have an even stronger claim, as Simpson’s estate is settled under terms established by the trust created in January. The will lists his four children and notes that any beneficiary who seeks to challenge provisions of the will “shall receive, free of trust, one dollar ($1.00) and no more in lieu of any claimed interest in this will or its assets.”

Simpson said he lived only on his NFL and private pensions. Hundreds of valuable possessions had been seized as part of the jury award, and Simpson was forced to auction his Heisman Trophy, fetching $230,000.

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Executor of O.J. Simpson’s estate plans to fight payout to the families of Brown and Goldman