Brown Family Lawyer Accuses eBay of Not Doing Enough to Nix O.J. Book Auctions

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An attorney representing the family of Nicole Brown Simpson accused eBay on Thursday of not moving quickly enough to yank auctions of "If I Did It," O.J. Simpson's hypothetical story of how he would have killed his ex-wife.

The book had been scheduled for release Nov. 30 following a two-part Simpson interview on Fox, but News Corp., owner of Fox Broadcasting and publisher HarperCollins, canceled the project after an outcry condemning it as revolting and exploitive.

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Responding to concerns from HarperCollins, eBay spokesman Hani Durzy said Thursday that the online auction house has been removing offers of purported copies from the site.

"Once HarperCollins reports to us, we take the auctions down," Durzy said. "We appreciate the concern of the Brown family, but this is a procedure that has to be followed."

For much of Thursday, three separate copies were being bid on. Offers for one copy topped $1 million at one point, but those were later pulled, with the seller, from Ridgefield Park, N.J., advising: "To all the shill bidders trying to sabotage my auction with outrageous bids, I just delete you and banish you."

Brown family attorney Natasha Roit said the site's deadline-style auctions means some transactions could finish before eBay acts. HarperCollins has said all copies of the book would be destroyed, but there is always a chance some could get out.

"The voice of the American public was heard loud and clear by News Corp. and HarperCollins in recalling the books," Roit said. "We really need to stem the tide and get these books out of circulation because anything that's out there now is really hurtful to the family."

Simpson, 59, was acquitted of the double murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995 but was later found liable in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Goldman's family. The former football star has not paid the $33.5 million civil judgment, and his NFL pension and Florida home cannot be seized.

In interviews with The Associated Press, Simpson denied committing the murders. He also disputed his publisher's contention that the book amounts to a confession, insisted the title was not his idea, and said the hypothetical sections were written by a ghostwriter.

News Corp. spokesman Andrew Butcher said the company paid $880,000 to a third party in connection with the project. Of that amount, $100,000 was to go to the ghostwriter and the rest to Simpson's children.

"Absolutely no money was ever given to O.J. Simpson by us," Butcher said Wednesday.

Simpson said any profit from the book would be "blood money," but he said he needed to pay his bills.

"It's all blood money, and unfortunately I had to join the jackals," Simpson said, referring to authors of books about him. "It helped me get out of debt and secure my homestead."

Simpson would not say how much he was paid in advance, but he said it was less than the $3.5 million that has been reported. He said the money already has been spent, some of it on tax obligations.

Butcher said News Corp. cannot recoup any of the money because Simpson honored his end of the contract by producing the book.

Simpson said he was convinced the book would have been a best-seller.

"If I Did It" cracked the top 20 of Amazon.com last weekend in prepublication sales, but by Monday, when it was canceled, the book had fallen to No. 51.

FOX and HarperCollins are owned by News Corp., which is the parent company of FOXNews.com.