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Simpson lawyer changes stance on suit payout

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Tuesday, 16 April 2024 07:43

The executor of O.J. Simpson's estate has reversed his stance on working to prevent a payout of a $33.5 million judgment awarded by a jury to the families of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Attorney Malcolm LaVergne had told the Las Vegas Review-Journal late last week that his hope was "that the Goldmans get zero, nothing" and that he would "do everything in my capacity as the executor or personal representative to try and ensure that they get nothing."

However, on Monday, in a telephone call to The Hollywood Reporter, LaVergne changed his opinion.

"I can tell you in advance, Fred Goldman's [Ron Goldman's father] claim will be accepted. And his claim will be handled in accordance with Nevada law," LaVergne told The Hollywood Reporter.

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 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 his comments to the Review-Journal were not directed toward Fred Goldman, but instead to the attorneys representing him.

"Within an hour of knowing that O.J. died, he started talking s---. My advocate instinct is was, 'Oh, you're gonna keep s---ting on him even after he's dead?'" he told the publication. "'Fine, you know? You get nothing.' And so, those were my remarks then. But I backtracked, and they were pretty harsh remarks. And now I'm going in the other direction."

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 Ron Goldman in Los Angeles. He was acquitted of criminal charges in 1995.

Fred Goldman, the lead plaintiff, always said the issue was never the money; it was only about holding Simpson responsible. 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."

LaVergne told The Hollywood Reporter that he will be "hypertransparent" with the families and "show my homework" with them as he tries to get the estate in order.

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 off his Heisman Trophy, fetching $230,000.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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