- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — In an account that his publisher considers a confession and some media executives call revolting, O.J. Simpson plans a book and TV interview to discuss how, hypothetically, he could have killed his ex-wife and her friend.

Two weeks before the book, “If I Did It,” goes on sale, scorn already was being heaped yesterday on Simpson, the publisher and Fox, which plans to air the Simpson interview in two parts Nov. 27 and 29.

Denise Brown, sister of Simpson’s slain ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, lashed out at the publisher for “promoting the wrongdoing of criminals” and commercializing abuse.

Judith Regan, whose Regan Books imprint is publishing the book, refused to say what Simpson is being paid for the book but said he came to her with the idea.

“This is an historic case, and I consider this his confession,” she told the Associated Press.

The former football star was acquitted in 1995 of killing his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman after a trial that became an instant cultural flash point.

He was later found liable for the deaths in a wrongful-death suit filed by the Goldman family. In the years since, he has been mocked relentlessly by late-night comedians, particularly for his vow to hunt down the true killers.

Simpson has failed to pay the $33.5 million judgment against him in the civil case. His NFL pension and his Florida home legally cannot be seized. He and the families of the victims have wrangled over the money in court for years.

Simpson did not return numerous calls for comment. His attorney Yale Galanter said he did not know about the book or the interview until this week.

He said there is “only one chapter that deals with their deaths, and that chapter, in my understanding, has a disclaimer that it’s complete fiction.”

Meanwhile, other publishers and publishing industry observers practically fell over one another to criticize Regan Books and Simpson.

“This is not about being heard. This is about trying to cash in, in a pathetic way, on some notoriety,” said Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publishers Weekly. “That a person keeps wanting to bring this up seems almost nutty to me.”

Patricia Schroeder, president and chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, described the developments as sickening.

“But I think it’s going to stir an awful lot of debate and make the culture take a real look at itself, and that may not be unhealthy,” she said.

Indeed, one thing that seemed certain was that the book and interview — which Fox will air at the end of the crucial sweeps month — were bound to generate a torrent of publicity.

Shari Anne Brill, a television analyst for the New York firm Carat USA, predicted that public interest would rival that of the 2003 interview with Michael Jackson, seen by 27 million people that year.

At least one other network, NBC, said it had been approached to air the special but declined the offer.

“This is not a project appropriate for our network,” said Rebecca Marks, a spokeswoman for the entertainment division of NBC, which once employed Simpson as a football analyst.

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