In what can hardly be called a big surprise the ghost written OJ Simpson book If I Did It has been made over and reissued right in the middle of OJ’s latest skirmish with the law.

This second imprint has all of the original content with some additional commentary from the Goldman family concerning the new debacle that OJ has got himself into.

I had heard on the literary grapevine that a new version was in the works, and through an unrelated venture I happen to know the publisher. One would think that with the high profile that If I Did It had on its first release, there would have been more hoopla this time around. For those of you not familiar with the story here is a quick recap. Harper Collins were scheduled to be the original publisher, and reputedly paid Simpson via a shell company a $1 million advance. Public outcry, fueled in many ways by the Goldman family, and a law suit gave Harper Collins cold feet, and had their executives reaching for the bottle of Tums.  They pulled out and destroyed the 400,000 copies they had printed, and ready for the book stores.

A small publishing house, Beaufort books stepped up to the plate and agreed to act as publisher. I thought this was an odd decision at the time, Owner Eric Kampmann is hardly a risk taker, one only has to read his latest book Trail Thoughts to see that. He is a quiet contemplative guy. My sources tell me that he took on the project only because he knew the Goldman family. When I talked to Eric I asked him about If I Did It, and he was somewhat reserved, saying that he had not expected the backlash, etc.

The book did make it to the bestseller list though. I have had some dealings with Fred Goldman, this is a man with a mission. He has made it his life work to dog OJ Simpson, and I applaud him for it. OJ has slipped the noose one too many times. So it came as no surprise that a new version of If I Did It was slated for release to coincide with the Las Vegas trial. What did surprise me was the amount of difficulty I had obtaining the updated version. I had the gist of the changes months ago, but getting a copy, even electronic, was a battle royal. It seemed that the publisher had lost interest in the project.

There may be another reason for the lack of publicity. Random house recently pulled plans to act as publisher of The Jewel Of Medina after being advised that the content could incite violence from with the extreme Islamic community. The Jewel is a novel about the life and loves of the Prophet Mohammad. Beaufort has taken on the project, and it is slated for a mid October release date. The company has been under a state of siege following the bombing in London, England of the planned British publishers home. An event that almost certainly was connected to The Jewel. While some books are just controversial as is the case with If I Did It, others are potentially dangerous. The Jewel seems set to take the same path as Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.

The literary rumor mill is claiming that Beaufort temporarily suspended operations earlier this week in order to confer with Law Enforcement agencies.

What could have become a huge PR problem for OJ has instead passed gently by. One wonders why?  OJ has the credibility of a three day old donut, but he seems to be able to dodge the bullets. This latest trial is no exception, he is charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, and a raft of other felonious crimes. It looked like a slam dunk, but when the accuser turns up in prison garb and chains, somehow the credibility level drops.

The publishing world was eagerly awaiting this reprint, and I for one was ready to come out swinging, I like Fred Goldman, and sadly this case represents all that is wrong with our judicial system. I feel sorry for the Goldman family, they have lost a son, and the sons only problem was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The killer is obvious, if your IQ exceeds your hat size (10) there is only one suspect. Actually he is not a suspect, he is the killer. OJ Simpson is as guilty as he was great football player. He owns many NFL records, but the one that likely will remain for some years is ‘most people killed in a single evening’.

I think that it is unfortunate that once again OJ will walk away, no doubt to resume his search for the golf caddy that killed his ex wife Nicole and Ron Goldman. OJ is firmly convinced it was a caddy, after all it is only golf courses that he spends his time on!  I suppose that the extended time on the golf course might be on doctors orders, a therapy for the severe arthritis that his team of lawyers played on in order to get him off on the original criminal trial. Interestingly enough, he has cleared all the golf caddy’s in California, he never plays there. Or, could it be that if he stepped foot in California he might have to pay up some of the $30 million plus owing the Goldman family from their civil suit?

I would love to say something like “OJ Simpson refused to comment when BNN contacted him”, but I can not. It would take some serious Guantanamo Bay Waterboarding fun park rides to get me to talk to this man. And I will pretty much interview anyone!

Simon Barrett

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