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Kim Goldman’s crusade: Make OJ Simpson pay and never forget

pLos Angeles Times /ppLOS ANGELES — Kim Goldman wrote to O.J. Simpson a few years ago, asking to visit him in the Nevada prison where he was being held for robbery and kidnapping./ppShe wanted to see the man she says killed her brother, Ron Goldman, and Simpson’s wife 25 years ago this week outside Nicole Brown Simpson’s Brentwood townhouse. It would become known as “the crime of the century.”/ppTo her surprise, Simpson’s people got back to her. He would see her — as long as she signed a nondisclosure agreement covering their conservation. Goldman refused./ppMuch as she wanted to see him shackled and humbled, she said, she would never give Ron’s “brutal killer that pleasure.”/ppWhen a loved one is murdered, those they leave behind often go through a cycle of grief and pain. Many fight to give the loss meaning but also try to accept what happened and move on./ppNot Kim Goldman./ppFor a quarter-century, she has made bringing Simpson to what she considers justice her unwavering mission. She and her father, Fred Goldman, have chased down secret hordes of Simpson’s memorabilia, taken possession of his tell-all book and spoken out against a criminal justice system that she says ignores victims’ rights./ppWords like “closure” and “forgiveness” aren’t in her lexicon./ppGoldman now is the vice chair of a prominent victims’ rights organization, and for 13 years has run a group that helps troubled teens in Santa Clarita Valley./ppOne of her goals has been getting Simpson to pay a $33.5 million civil judgment that she and her family won in 1997, when a jury concluded the former football great and actor had been responsible for the murders — even after a criminal jury acquitted him./ppIt’s not about the money, she said, as much as about holding Simpson accountable./ppShe said they have collected less than 1% of that amount, a point that angers her even more now that Simpson is out of prison and spending time on resort golf courses in Las Vegas./ppTo this day, she won’t use his name. He is simply “the killer,” the “murdering liar.”/pp“He doesn’t deserve more,” she said./ppMost of Kim Goldman’s dealings with Simpson have occurred in the courtroom./ppIn the moments after his 1995 acquittal, she was seen sobbing behind a triumphant Simpson by a television audience estimated at 150 million people./ppTwo years later, when a civil jury in Santa Monica found him responsible for the deaths and ordered him to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages, Goldman again cried. She then turned to Simpson and shouted: “Oh my God, you’re a murderer!”/ppThey did have one chance encounter years later, near a Los Angeles area strip mall. Goldman was at the wheel of her SUV. Simpson was walking. She revved the engine. As she detailed in her 2014 memoir, “Can’t Forgive: My 20-Year Battle With O.J. Simpson,” she passed up the chance to end his life./ppWhen Simpson was convicted in the 2008 kidnapping and robbery in Las Vegas, Goldman was again in the audience. She simply looked at him and smiled as he was led away./ppGoldman isn’t sure whether she will even see Simpson face to face again. She tried recently to arrange an interview for a podcast she’s doing on the case./pp“I am sure it is really weird to be getting a letter from me, but for years I have listened to what everyone else has to say about you, lawyers, media but never from you. wondering if you would sit down and talk to me. I just want to understand whatever can be understood,” she wrote to the NFL Hall of Famer./ppThe interview never happened./ppBut that hasn’t stopped Goldman’s efforts to raise awareness of the case with her podcast, “Confronting O.J. Simpson,” which is debuting Wednesday./ppOver the years, Simpson has maintained his innocence and said he’s tried to move on with his life. “My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone.’ We focus on the positives,” he told The Associated Press this week. “I’ve learned to love. Life is fine.”/ppRon Goldman was young and handsome, with seemingly his whole life ahead of him. He was an aspiring actor who dabbled in modeling and the fashion business./ppNicole Brown Simpson had separated from O.J. after several rocky years of marriage that included calls to police reporting he had beaten her. She had moved to the townhouse on Bundy Drive while Simpson remained in his estate on Rockingham Avenue./ppGoldman and Nicole Simpson became friends, exercising together and grabbing meals. He worked as a waiter at Mezzaluna, where Nicole dined on the last night of her life. Later on June 12, 1994, Goldman went to her townhouse to deliver a pair of sunglasses she’d left behind at the Italian restaurant./ppThey were fatally stabbed and slashed that night, their bodies discovered some time after midnight. A single bloody glove was found at the scene. A second glove, police reported, was found at Simpson’s estate./ppRon “acted heroically that night. He wasn’t afraid,” Kim Goldman said this week. “He didn’t leave, he didn’t run. His last act of life really showed you who he was.” Goldman was 25 when he died./ppSimpson was charged with murder./ppDuring a televised trial, prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden portrayed the former University of Southern California and NFL star as a man blinded by jealousy and driven to murder. Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers, led by Johnnie Cochran, said he was a victim of racist LAPD cops looking to get a conviction by any means./ppUnarguably among the most sensational trials in history, it riveted the nation and divided many along racial lines./ppSimpson was acquitted, and managed to live fairly well even after the civil court judgment. But his luck ran out in Las Vegas. He received a 33-year prison sentence for kidnapping, robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges during an attempt to retrieve memorabilia he said belonged to him from a hotel suite./ppHe served nine years before being paroled in 2017./ppSimpson continues to draw an NFL pension that some reports have estimated as high as $19,000 per month. He also receives an unknown amount of royalties from his movies, which include the science fiction thriller “Capricorn One” and “The Naked Gun” comedy trilogy, as well as from TV shows he appeared in./ppKim Goldman said that the courts in Florida, where Simpson had maintained a residence, have protected him. A bankruptcy judge awarded the Goldmans the rights to publish Simpson’s jointly authored hypothetical description of the slayings, “If I Did It.” The Goldmans retitled the book “if I Did it: Confessions of the Killer.” The “if” was printed in smaller type and placed inside the word “I.”/ppAfter the 2008 robbery sentencing, Goldman said that, “We feel very strongly that, because of our pursuit of him for all these years, it did drive him to this.”/ppNow 47, she lives in Santa Clarita as the single mother of a 15-year-old whose middle name is Ronald. With an education in psychology, Goldman said, her focus is on raising her son and helping other kids with challenges through the SCV Youth Project./ppShe is no longer the young woman crying in the courtroom. The years, she said, have given her perspective./ppShe’s talked to jurors who acquitted Simpson./pp“I appreciate this was a difficult conversation to have with me,” she said. “They didn’t believe the evidence. They believed the cops involved in the case were dirty and it was nothing to do with him.”/ppGoldman said the jurors ignored the overwhelming DNA evidence tying Simpson to the crime scene, noting the science was relatively new at the time. Instead they heard Detective Mark Fuhrman deny using the N-word, and then heard testimony that demonstrated he had — allowing the defense to raise suspicions that evidence could have been planted by the LAPD to frame Simpson for racial reasons./ppJurors, Goldman said, also did not hear about certain pieces of evidence as prosecutors chose not to present some witnesses. “We will never know,” she said if that could have changed the outcome./ppThe civil case two years later “had the benefit of hindsight,” she said, as well as the addition of new evidence./ppBut as she goes through each day, Goldman said, she cannot help but think of all that her brother has missed out on./pp“It is always and most importantly, about remembering Ron and Nicole.”/p


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