O.J. Simpson is set to hightail it out of America to protect his fortune, lawyers close to the new civil cases against him fear.
The fallen football hero faces three suits involving his slain ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her pal, Ron Goldman. If he loses all three, he could go broke. But if he stashes his cash outside the country, he can live like a king, attorneys following the case say.
A lawyer for one of the civil suit plaintiffs vows to follow Simpson to the far corners of the Earth to collect any settlement.
"We will pursue this to the end," says Mike Brewer, who represents Ron Goldman's mother, Sharon Rufo. "If there's a judgement, we will do anything to seize Simpson's assets.
Brewer adds that "it's always possible" that O.J. will flee America.
In addition to Rufo's suit, O.J. is also being hauled into court by the fathers of victims Nicole and Ron Goldman.
In a shrewd legal maneuver, all three have filed "survivor actions," which allows them to go for punitive damages. And if a jury finds Simpson liable for the deaths, they could order him to pay a potentially massive sum, which could wipe him out financially.
Top legal eagle Peter Levin agrees a jury judgement could bleed O.J. dry.
"I think there's a very good chance the jury will come back with big, big numbers," says Levin, a former prosecutor who was a leading analyst of the murder trial.
"If they find Simpson liable, they could take into account his wealth and his potential to earn millions more.
"And if he does flee - or if he refuses to testify - O.J. could be found liable by default."
But that in itself won't satisfy the plaintiffs, who want to Simpson pay through the nose for what they believe was his role in the horrendous crimes.
The National Examiner
November 21 1995