Published January 13, 2015
O.J. Simpson is getting his fake Rolex watch back.
The timepiece, seized earlier this week by attorneys for Fred Goldman, was ordered returned to the former football star after it was determined to be a knockoff made in China.
Goldman has won a multimillion-dollar wrongful death judgment against Simpson, but the watch has so little value it falls under an exemption in the judgment excluding jewelry worth less than $6,075.
Goldman lawyer David Cook said his client will comply with Friday's order by Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg.
"While we are clearly disappointed with the outcome, this tells us that collecting on this judgment, against this guy, is really tough," Cook said.
Cook had hoped the watch might be worth as much as $22,000, but an appraisal from San Francisco jeweler Shreve & Co. concluded it was worth only about $100. Simpson had told his lawyer, Ronald Slates, he paid $125 for it.
Cook told Rosenberg he had a buyer willing to pay as much as $10,000 for the watch because it was Simpson's. But Slates argued that didn't mean Simpson was obligated to let Cook sell his watch, and the judge agreed.
Had he agreed to let Cook try to sell the watch, Slates said, Cook might have tried to go after other Simpson possessions of little value, claiming he could also sell them at a huge markup.
"We don't want to create a precedent where they can do that and we're forever faced with it," Slates said.
Simpson was acquitted in a criminal trial of the 1994 murders of Goldman's son, Ron Goldman, and Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. After their families sued him for wrongful death, a civil court jury found him liable for the killings and ordered that he pay $33.5 million.
Most of that judgment remains unpaid, although Fred Goldman recently won the rights to Simpson's book, "If I Did It." The ghostwritten account of how Simpson could have committed the murders is a New York Times best-seller.