Outpouring of mail leads to Simpson book

January 08, 1995|By New York Times News Service

A book by O. J. Simpson, discussing spousal abuse, his slain former wife and his assertion of innocence in her slaying, will be published next month by Little, Brown & Co.

Titled "I Want to Tell You" and written in collaboration with Lawrence Schiller, the book was described yesterday as an effort by Mr. Simpson to respond to the more than 300,000 pieces of mail he has received since his arrest in June on charges that he murdered his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman outside her home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles.

"One of the things O. J. said to me in my first meeting with him about the book was, 'This is not my biography; this is my response to the public's response to me, to my pain, to my suffering,' " Mr. Schiller said.

A former neighbor of Mr. Simpson and a producer, director and journalist, Mr. Schiller, 52, collaborated with Norman Mailer on his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Executioner's Song" and Mr. Mailer's forthcoming "Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery."

None of the principals in the arrangements for the publication of Mr. Simpson's book would discuss how much was paid for it.

"That is something we cannot divulge," said Robert Kardashian, one of Mr. Simpson's lawyers and a longtime business associate who brought Mr. Simpson and Mr. Schiller together. "It is confidential between the publisher and ourselves. I can elaborate a little bit to say the funds he is receiving are all going to his defense fund."

Little, Brown said it was planning an initial press run of 500,000 copies.

Mr. Schiller said a law that took effect this month in California to prevent criminals from profiting from their acts would not apply to Mr. Simpson in the event that he is found guilty at his impending trial in Los Angeles.

Even if Mr. Simpson is convicted, Mr. Schiller said, it was his understanding that the law would not apply to contracts signed in 1994. "Even the new law provides that anyone earning money, innocent or guilty, has the right to use the money first for their defense."

Charles E. Heyward, the president of Little, Brown, said he had no moral qualms about publishing the book. "As publishers, I think we have a responsibility to publish a broad spectrum of opinions and points of view," Mr. Heyward said.

Mr. Kardashian said that ever since the killings, Mr. Simpson has been receiving 2,000 to 3,000 pieces of mail daily "from people all over the world, every state of the United States," including the elderly and children who enclosed their allowance.

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