October 5, 2008

Simpson Guilty Verdict is Emotional for Goldman Family

By Los Angeles Times

LAS VEGAS -- The father and sister of Ronald Goldman greeted O.J. Simpson's conviction here on armed robbery and kidnapping charges with tears, laughter and a belief that their persistent efforts to collect a civil judgment from the former NFL star paid off, a family spokesman said Saturday morning.

"It was the civil suit that brought him down," the representative quoted Goldman's father, Fred, as saying.

A Los Angeles jury acquitted Simpson in 1995 of murdering his ex- wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, but two years later, he was found civilly liable for the deaths and ordered to pay the victims' families $33.5 million.

In his armed robbery trial, prosecutors contended that the confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers last year in a casino hotel room was the result of a decade-long scheme by Simpson to hide valuable mementos from the Goldmans, whom the Hall of Famer nicknamed "the gold diggers."

Fred Goldman and his daughter, Kim, watched Friday night's verdict live on television, spokesman Michael Right said. He said the two were on the phone with each other -- Fred Goldman in Ohio, where he was visiting family, and his daughter in the Los Angeles area -- when the court clerk read off all 12 guilty findings.

"Kim was telling me that she felt joyous one moment, and then she would break down and cry, and then she would feel joyous again," Right said.

He said the Goldmans would not speak publicly until they had had time to reflect on the verdict.

"They are happy the man they know murdered their brother and son is going to be behind bars, but ... it also brought up all the emotions of this monster killing Ron," Right said.

The verdicts came 13 years to the day after Simpson's Los Angeles acquittal.

When he is sentenced in December, Simpson, 61, faces a minimum of 15 years in prison. A lawyer for Fred Goldman said the family would continue pursuing his assets, including some $100,000 in sports memorabilia seized as evidence. The items will remain in the court's possession until all appeals are exhausted.

Simpson's conviction leaves few other avenues to pursue, attorney David Cook acknowledged.

"This is a man whose earning potential has cratered," Cook said. "I guess the next item on the horizon would be his prison wages."

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