Making money from a murder

In O.J. Simpson’s upcoming book, he details how he killed ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman — that is, if he had killed them, which a criminal jury acquitted him of in 1995.

The name of the new book, If I Did It, doesn’t exactly scream, “I’m innocent!” the way Simpson has been doing in the decade since the crime occurred. In fact, Simpson’s publisher has publicly announced she considers the book to beÿSimpson’s long-awaited confession of guilt.

Anticipation of the book hasn’t been without rampant criticism. Publishing companies have lambasted Simpson’s publisher, ReganBooks, calling the book pathetic and revolting. Not surprisingly, Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister has accused ReganBooks of “promoting the wrongdoing of criminals,” and even Barbara Walters refused to interview Simpson for a TV special.

Speaking of TV specials, Fox has announced that despite criticism of the book and of Simpson himself, the station will air a two-part tell-all with Simpson in late November — just days before the book’s release and, conveniently, right at the end of sweeps weeks, when ratings are more crucial then ever.

So why is he publishing now, more than a decade after the homicides and the infamous Trial of the Century’s not-guilty verdict?

Simple: money. Simpson sold most of his assets in the ’90s and still owes $33.5 million for the 1997 civil suit that found him guilty of wrongful death and battery. And although the publishing company has not announced whether Simpson will profit from the book’s sales, various publications have already hinted at Simpson’s floundering financial situation, indicating that he could certainly use the income book sales would provide.

Furthermore, even if Simpson’s book is not hypothetical, as he claims, and instead is an actual confession of guilt, it doesn’t matter. Simpson has already been tried for the murders in criminal and civil suits: There’s nowhere left to try him. Because double-jeopardy laws prevent a person from being tried twice for the same crime, Simpson could never again be put on the stand for Brown’s and Goldman’s murders, even if he admits to committing them. He’s home free — that’s the way our legal system works.

This book opens up a dozen cans of worms. What kind of country do we live in where a man can practically admit to two horrific murders and get away with it? The law is well-intentioned, but that hardly negates the horrific possibility of a murderer who admits to his crime, possibly even profits from it, then walks away without punishment and instead with a wallet full of cash.

The worst part? The American public will allow this to happen. We will read his book and watch his interview because we’re curious, because we spent hours following the trial coverage years ago and hope Simpson’s “hypothetical” confessions will shed some closure on the situation. Because we think Simpson is guilty.

And now, he’ll be rich, too. Rich and still legally considered not guilty. It just doesn’t get any better for The Juice, does it?

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.