October 4, 1995
Web posted at: 11:25 a.m. EDT
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Goodbye, O.J. Simpson murder trial. Hello, O.J. Simpson civil trial. The ex-football star was acquitted Tuesday of double murder in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, but he still faces three civil suits from the families of both victims. The "not guilty" verdicts also mean Simpson is likely to ask a court to give him back guardianship of his younger children, who are now in the custody of their dead mother's parents. And as he begins a new life, the one-time sports commentator, actor and product endorser must decide how to make a living.
In jail he wrote a book, "I Want To Tell You," and he is said to be working on another. The first book, for which he was given a $1 million advance, topped The New York Times best- seller list and has earned him at least $3 million more. In addition, the jailed Simpson signed 2,500 trading cards for which he was paid $200,000. And according to Money magazine, he authorized the sale of 21-inch bronze statues in his likeness, for which he received $50,000 up front.
Money also reported that Simpson could make $2 million in a pay-per-view TV interview that he may be planning. "I think these deals will be made by fringe people," People magazine's Mitchell Fink told CNN. "I don't think that you'll see the NBC's, the CBS's and ABC's come rushing for an O.J. deal."
Although publicist Michael Levine said he has no interest in representing Simpson, he told CNN there is "no question" an effort will be made to reinvent the former defendant's image. "The world has changed so much that if Hitler were found alive today, I believe firmly that his first stop would be "Nightline," not Nuremberg," Levine said.
Levine predicts Simpson's handlers are "going to be very audacious and look to a lot of fringe players to get him back on the map and maximize as much income as possible. That, of course, is exactly the wrong position to take if image, long-term image is your goal. But if your short-term income is your goal, then to maximize this infamy -- that's exactly what I think will happen."
The executive producer of the reality-based television program "LAPD" believes Simpson will return to show business. "It wouldn't surprise me at all if O.J. rebuilt his career into pretty much the kind of career he had before, (but) it's going to take awhile," Dave Bell said.
The television business, observed Bell, is not known for its humility. "I think that probably within one year, O.J. can be looked upon as a potential host for network specials and that sort of thing, probably, perhaps some movie roles," he said.
Simpson's new income may be spent on new courtroom fights. A lawsuit filed by Goldman's father, Fred, and sister, Kim, accuses Simpson of killing Ron Goldman with "vicious and outrageous savagery." A separate wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Simpson by Sharon Rufo, Goldman's mother. The Brown family lawsuit alleges Simpson "stalked, attacked and repeatedly stabbed and beat" his 35-year-old ex-wife. Simpson, who did not testify in the criminal trial, could be forced to take the stand in the civil cases.
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AP contributed to this report.