September 30, 2005

Comics show plans rare O.J. Simpson appearance

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson plans to sign
autographs and pose for pictures at a Halloween-themed comic
book convention in a rare public appearance coinciding with the
10th anniversary of his acquittal on murder charges, a promoter
of the event said on Friday.

Simpson agreed to show up at the NecroComicon show in Los
Angeles for three days, starting on Friday night, as a favor to
an unspecified friend who was paid in advance to arrange for
the weekend appearance, according to the promoter, Tom Riccio.

Riccio said Simpson, who now lives in Florida, was "not
getting a penny" for his visit, but was using the event as a
possible trial run for future public appearances that he would
make "in exchange for donations to his kids' college fund."

"A lot of promoters are watching this to see how it goes,
and we're going to take it from there," Riccio said.

Riccio said he would charge $95 for photos and T-shirts
signed by Simpson, and $125 for autographed football jerseys
and helmets. Riccio said he would keep whatever is left of the
proceeds after paying for various expenses, including Simpson's
travel costs.

On Sunday, Simpson will be joined at the event by his old
friend and former football teammate Al Cowlings, who famously
drove his buddy around Los Angeles in a white Ford Bronco
during the televised slow-speed police pursuit that ended with
Simpson's arrest at his home on murder charges.

Cowlings is being paid separately by NecroComicon

It was 10 years ago on Monday that a California jury found
Simpson not guilty of murder in the June 1994 slashing and
stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her
friend, Ronald Goldman.

A civil court jury in February of 1997 found Simpson liable
for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages
to the families of the victims.

Lawyers for Goldman's parents have said they would attempt
to garnish any of Simpson's future earnings to satisfy the
judgment, which he has vowed never to pay.

But Riccio said he "was told that even the victims'
(families) don't mind (Simpson's) kids going to college.

Simpson lives off a $4 million National Football League
pension that is exempt from civil court judgments, and the
house he lives in cannot be seized to pay such a debt.

Neither lawyers for Goldman's parents nor Simpson could be
reached immediately for comment.