TMZ.com, an entertainment gossip site, announced this week that the full manuscript of OJ Simpson’s tawdry tale about the murder of Nicole Simpson, If I Did It, which he was paid $3.5 million to write last year, was leaked and that they have a copy of it. I visited the TMZ.com page after the story broke and couldn’t find a link for the file, but I read the excerpts and wondered how long AOL thought they could let their cheap little website, sort of the equivalent of ValleyWag for non-geeks, run the story without getting sued.
The Goldmans are understandably sensitive about the contents of the book. They got the publisher to cancel release of it last year over protests that OJ should not profit from its sale, and have already discussed plans to edit the book and release it under the more accurate title Confessions of a Double Murderer.
According to an excellent article at Court TV:
Although the former football star was acquitted of murder charges, Goldman’s family won a civil wrongful death case against Simpson now totaling more than $33 million. As part of their efforts to collect, the Goldmans seized on securing the rights to the aborted “If I Did It” project.
Last week, Cristol ruled in favor of the Goldman family…He ordered all copies of the manuscript and related materials turned over to a court-appointed trustee, partly to satisfy Simpson’s debt to the Goldmans. Goldman attorney Paul Battista said TMZ’s posting of the manuscript on Tuesday violated that order and may do irreparable harm to the family’s attempt to benefit financially from it.
Lawyers for the family of Ron Goldman and a bankruptcy trustee have taken the issue to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol and asked him to hold TMZ.com in contempt of court for posting the manuscript. They also seek financial damages springing from the leak (no pun intended). A hearing will be held soon to determine the outcome.
As of this writing, it appears TMZ.com is not honoring the takedown notice. The excerpts are still there in all of their surreal goriness, and comments of protest and complaint to TMZ are at or near the 700 mark.
According to the latest gossip, even OJ can’t find a link for the manuscript, but I’ve found every link that was up as of 11 o’ clock last night. No one has claimed responsibility for the leak, but several major torrent sites are hosting the manuscript, and a few smaller websites have direct links to the PDF. Email me if you can’t find the manuscript and I’ll hook you up with a copy.
I want to post the links here, because I know people want to read the story as much as I do, but I have to honor the Goldman’s wishes to keep it off the Internet. In anticipation of AOL honoring the takedown notice by deleting all excerpts from TMZ.com, I’ve got mirrors and one website with more comprehensive excerpts ready to go up at a moment’s notice. I see nothing wrong with posting the excerpts myself.